Thursday, February 16, 2012

the little and big things

sometimes it's the small things.  over this past year i've clearly been in need of some pretty big stuff -- some pretty big physical healing, emotional healing...let's face it, mental healing.  you don't hear the diagnosis "cancer" and bounce back quickly.  no... that set the stage for a road.  a long road of hurt and then even a longer road of healing.  but in all of that big diagnosis and big hurt and big need...i found so often it was the little things which helped the most.

this month, though, we aren't dealing with cancer.  we aren't dealing with disease...but with some disappointment.  some sadness. perhaps even some depression.  with the decision to leave our home and our friends and our church and our school...all these things come into play.  i'd like to tell you that i am 100% on board and ready to go.  but i'm not.  i am doing better this week. better each week actually -- and i am working through it.  but it is still what it is. and the bottom line is, it is hard.  maybe you've been in my place before.  walked in my shoes.  i've heard from so many of you who have told me so.  who have confirmed my suspicions that i am honestly not the very first woman ever to have to pick up and pack up and load up and leave.  

i had the same thing happen after the cancer.  story after story after story shared.   the outpouring of your own struggles and sacrifices and sad things came crashing at me.  sometimes it was a little overwhelming, but mostly it was helpful and part of the healing.  healing to hear that others have walked hard roads...others have battled this same ugliness at all different levels.  i printed out almost every response.  every letter.  every note. email. inbox.  i have them all in an album underneath my bed.  my beautiful friend, karen, put together a book for me where each of my girlfriends took a page and wrote me something of blessing and encouragement.  this book is teeming with the words and handwriting of my lovely, loving friends.  some included a swatch of ribbon or a dried flower or a beautiful picture.  some wrote scripture and some wrote prayers.  karen brought me this book just days before my surgery. for weeks, i couldn't pull it out and read through it without crying over the sweet pages of its friendship.  that book is a treasure.  big thing or little thing, i'm not exactly sure, but absolutely a huge piece of my healing.

now with this move i am beginning to notice how, again, little stuff helps.  the funniest thing made a difference last week.  connor came home from school and pulled a spelling test out of his wild and unruly 3rd grade backpack.  he wasn't half in the door before he began to tell me about what had happened.  his teacher, mrs. pinkston, had put a minnesota vikings sticker at the top of his paper.  and that was it.  that sticker.  that little itty bitty circle of a sticker helped me.  something about it...something about her deliberately choosing that sticker for him, encouraged me.  mind you, i am not even remotely a fan of the minnesota vikings or of any vikings, for that matter.  it is the craziest thing, isn't it? mrs. pinkston is like this though.  she is a woman who listens to the whispers of God in the big things and in even the very small things -- like stickers.

this most remarkable woman has blessed my 8 year old in his 3rd grade year more than i can explain.  every year that we've had a 3rd grader at pcs i wanted this sparkly kind of lady to be their teacher.  but this was the very first time we "got her."  and i knew God was saving her just for my tender son, connor.  he hasn't been all that sure he actually liked this school thing...honestly, my boy would prefer to stay home in his filthy blue jeans and play in the woods.  he'd choose his bike or atv over mathematics any old day, counting miles per hour...not minutes until the bell rings.  and then on top of his anti-school attitude, his little world got rocked when i got cancer...and it was at that time, this summer, that we found out connor would spend 3rd grade with mrs. pinkston.  i remember being propped up in bed not too long after the surgery and just giving thanks for that very thing. small thing? big thing?  it was a huge thing for me.  it gave me such confidence to know if there was a teacher to encourage my connor, it would be without a doubt, phyllis pinkston.

and now this week my son comes home and can't wait to show me his sticker and somehow it just reminds me that it will be okay.  that it will and can be good.  i am pretty certain mrs. pinkston didn't pray over which sticker to put on connor's spelling test this week. she didn't need to go seek counsel from the church elders on the matter...  she just did what seemed natural.  perhaps she had to scrounge around or even shop for that exact sticker...i don't know.  maybe it was on a sheet tucked away in a drawer from 5 years ago...maybe mrs. pinkston is secretly a big fan of the minnesota vikings....but she found it and she placed it on his paper and she added a smile to his face and a little bit of encouragement to this mama's heart.  and i can't even explain exactly why...but it's true and it's there and it helped.  and i'm saving that spelling test.

and if you ever hear a little whisper in your ear or a little prompting in your heart to do something small for it.  would you just do it? don't shove it away and think it unimportant and too trivial.  maybe it is something big like this album my friend karen poured herself into....maybe it is just attaching a minnesota vikings sticker to a 3rd grader's spelling test.  doesn't much matter...but it matters much to the person receiving the gift...receiving the gesture.  big or little.. listen to the whisper of God's matters.


John Ferlito said...

Boy, Jody, this is so spot on! When we were thrown into the maelstrom of Pixie's battle against cancer, our fondest memories were those of the small kindnesses, upon which people simply acted. We have long since forgotten all those well intentioned requests to "let us know if there is anything we can do." Your gratitude for the little things is inspirational.

MaryLee said...

After having the privilege of teaching with Phyllis for almost five years (five years ago!), I couldn't agree with you more. I would lose hours sitting in her classroom just soaking up the wisdom and joy that God has created in her. After a particularly hard day teaching, she left on my desk a Hershey bar with the words "I love you!" I still have it. As my family packs up to move this week, I looked forward all day to having tea with this special lady -- and with Melissa and Linda and is these little things I will miss..because friendships are a big thing...thank you for sharing your heart.

Aus said...

You and me - we're a lot alike there Jody - I've 'passed' on a few jobs because I didn't want to uproot myself much less my family. But - we've had a different few bumps in our lives.

And so - I'm prepared to share something that an old "blues man" once said to me..."that which does not kill us only serves to make us stronger"...good words - and one day soon where ever you land - you'll know you are home!

hugs - aus and co.