Sunday, December 22, 2013

Generous Kindness

I have written and rewritten this blog post over and over, never quite satisfied with my feeble and insufficient attempts at expressing the emotions filling my heart. I have recently been the recipient of an act of generous kindness for which I feel entirely incapable of communicating my gratitude.
As anyone familiar with this blog knows, this has been a very rough year, filled with some ups and quite a few downs. Life changed very suddenly and, in many respects, I have spent the past twelve months never quite stepping out of survival mode.
When a person is neck-deep in illness, trying to get through life one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time, they never get to come up for air.
You run out of energy, so you simply find a way to keep going. You juggle time and resources to get to appointments, to do blood work, to fill your endless list of prescriptions. You struggle to be a good parent when you don’t even feel entirely human. And you do it day after day. It becomes, to a large extent, the whole of your reality because it is so all-consuming.
You run short on money, so you find a way to make ends meet. You cut back on other expenses, all the while praying no new expenses pop up or that you aren’t going to desperately need the money you just spent on something else. You’re holding your breath, just waiting for it all to fall to pieces. And if it doesn't, if you manage to make it work, the relief is almost palpable. Even one household expense away from disaster, you're grateful because you're better off than you could be, better off than you were, and because you know that there are many people who aren't so lucky.
You’re doing all right, but maybe not great. Still, that’s better than where you’ve been. You're moving along, feeling pretty okay with where you're at because you remember all too vividly where you've been.
Then someone reaches out and shows you compassion and kindness in a way that leaves you speechless. You have spent so much time constantly fighting for every little victory. Looking back on your progress, you feel like at least part of the crisis has passed, even though you know it hasn’t entirely. For a time, you don’t even know what to say or do when shown such compassion. There don’t seem to be words adequate to describe your gratitude and that makes you feel so terribly ungrateful.
I recently found myself the recipient of tremendous and overwhelming kindness from the writing community. I don’t know who, exactly, and thus can’t offer the personal thank yous I wish I could. I wish I could tell each of you who were part of this tremendous act of service how much I appreciate the kindness you have shown, how grateful I am for the burden you have lifted, and how utterly humbled I am.
I find myself reflecting on a sentiment I read annually at Christmastime that has added meaning for me this year. From Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol:
I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore... I say, God bless it!”
God bless it, indeed. And God bless those who have eyes that see hidden burdens, ears that hear the silent cries of the downtrodden, and hearts filled with love and generosity.

14 comments:

Rachel said...

You're so amazing and I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

Melanie Jacobson said...

Merry Christmas, Sarah.

Braden Bell said...

Merry Christmas! I'm so glad you had something to lift your spirits!

Rachel Rossano said...

Merry Christmas!!! :)

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Merry Christmas!

Taffy said...

I heart you, Sarah! I hope and pray you have a fantastic 2014 year!

Jewel said...

Beautifully written, as always.
May your Christmas be magical.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I'm so glad you had this experience. Maybe it will counter the less than happy ones you've had too.

Merry Christmas.

Melissa said...

YOu have to love Christmas!!! I love hearing stories like this! So amazing and wonderful and it couldn't have happened to a better person:}

wendy said...

Although I do not know you personally, I am grateful for your beautiful posts that inspire and lift our spirits. Thank you for sharing your journey. Thank you for your example of perseverance and faith. And, thank you for ALL your books~I truly enjoy the journey you take us on in every story. Merry Christmas and wishing you an even better New Year!

Melinda said...

Sarah, I just wanted to thank you for your amazing books! My sister told me about them, so I went to Deseret Book and bought Drops of Gold. I read it that day and loved it! I went back to DB the next afternoon and bought every other book you had written. I proceeded to read the other books in about 7 days, letting my house go to shambles and the laundry stacked high. I would literally get all 5 kids off to school and then sit and read all day. It was glorious! I love your books and I love more that my 14 yr old daughter can read them all and I don't have to worry. We have had so much fun discussing the books and wishing there were more to read. A week after I was done reading all of the books, I guess I went through withdrawals from not having anything else to read and my husband told me to go and buy more books to read. I told him there was nothing left for me to buy so I reread everything again. Thank you for your amazing talent and keep these proper romances coming!

Book Worm said...

I am glad someone has returned the favor you have offered all of us. I enjoy reading your books and appreciate every word in them because I don't have to watch out for the bad ones. Thank you so much for all you've given the writing world.

Chrissy said...

You are amazing! Merry Christmas!! Thanks for writing so many good books and being such a good example!

Chris Todd Miller said...

I suspect it wouldn't have happened had you not been so generous over the years with your time and talents. Whether through your books or personally, we're all lucky to know you.

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