I’m writing these words in early summer, June exactly, about 2/3rds of the way through my treatment plan. As of this morning, I have 5 weeks and 2 days until my last chemo treatment, which normally would be a blip on my summer calendar, but today seems like a long, hot, lonely West Texas stretch of highway, never-ending and potentially dangerous. By time you read this, chemo will be behind me, and I pray the hardest of my hard.
Yet…I’m grateful to follow each hardness with a full-bodied yet. There is grace sufficient for every day, every moment.
I have talked about the difficulty of not knowing what to say in a crisis, of the hope not to say the wrong thing, of the angst of saying nothing at all, and today I want to share how the smallest of offerings, the smallest gesture made, can transform into the biggest grace.
When one is sick or if there is a death, our hearts bind with those in need. Our actions are swift to help, to encourage, to lift, even if for a moment. I am grateful and awed at all I received in the first few weeks after diagnosis. As one who has rarely been on this side of the sick equation, it has been a lesson in humility to allow others to tend to my needs.
Grateful in the wake of the giant love-splash, is the puniest way to express what I felt, what Garry felt, but until there’s a better word, grateful will have to stand.
As the weeks progressed, we were still the recipients of gestures large and small; it was pure love on display…the best of human kindness. With each gesture, my hope grew and my burden lightened, even on the toughest of days.
I told myself to make notes, so that when I was again back on familiar ground, as the one offering my love and support, I would have much wisdom to draw upon.
Here is where I want to unburden your heart when you are at a loss of how to offer grace to another. While unexpected packages were ALWAYS fun and welcomed (Cancer Christmas! < For the uninitiated, I have cancer; I’m allowed the inappropriate joke or two.), I found that the smallest of gestures were the ones to undo me.
Folks that found my story (not a hard thing to do with me yapping it up all over the place), sent me heartfelt notes and emails detailing their prayers for me and my family. Garry has customers that asked if it’s okay to include me on prayer lists. I received phone calls from folks that are uncomfortable talking about personal matters, yet (there’s that word again!), they put aside their discomfort in order to offer me care and kindness. I was (am) the recipient of smiles and encouragement and offers of anything I needed, anything my family needed. I was offered laughs and inappropriate jokes and a simple hand to hold.
These seemingly small gestures offered me some of the biggest graces.
The takeaway is to offer what you have, no matter how big or how small, no matter how inconsequential you think your gift may be in the light of bigger gestures. It’s the act of offering that is transformed to grace, both for the giver and the recipient.
On my tougher days, I think of the grace I have been offered by simple acts of love, by other’s devotion and it lifts me. Isn’t that what we should strive to do? To lift others, always?
So go ahead, don’t be afraid of offering the small gesture in confidence.