blogging today in the month of “Finding Thanksgiving” is Sarah
writes about seeing happiness in the most unlikely of situations and
how we can bring that happiness to grieving people.
Sarah is a 20-something trying to navigate the world with a little help from Jesus and little bit of sarcasm. For more from Sarah visithttp://www.mycompletemayhem.net
I Hope They're Weeds
weeds is never fun. It may be cathartic if you’ve had a rough day,
but no one jumps at the chance to weed the garden. It’s just not
pleasant. I recently found myself cleaning the yard and killing weeds
with my trusty bottle of Round Up and like most mindless task, I
found myself thinking about life while I sprayed roundup on what I
hope were weeds.
Cancer's New Normal
see, the weeds in my yard are two and half years old. I know this
because that’s how long it’s been since our yard received some
serious love. The weeds were symbolic of our lives going through
cancer and then grief. When you enter the world of life with cancer,
your new normal does not involve yard work, or home repairs. It
involves clinics, hospital stays, trying to not fall behind at work,
and chick-fil-a more than once a week.
a year and half of our new life with cancer, we lost our new normal
life and entered the world of grief. Grief exhaustion from the past
year and half collided, and the energy to do anything outside of the
normal means of living was just to overwhelming. For every weed, a
we first entered the world of cancer, people were quick to help
without us asking. Food was delivered; a group showed up to finish
some home projects and clean the yard. We were and are thankful for
this. It helped make the transition easier. Then the rain fell and
the garden grew. Yard work was never anywhere near the top of the to
Smiling in Grief
is terribly isolating. However, if you go the other side of the
world, you will find a group of women who smile the biggest smiles
you have ever seen. These women are either widows or they were left by their
husbands. Due to the culture and the legal marriage age of 15, they have
limited skills to earn a living and mouths to feed. These women have
banded together and are supported by the community. They learn job
skills as they go through life together. Not because it’s fun or
church organized. They have to. To put food on the table and educate
their children in hopes of a better future one day.
you are ever blessed to meet a group of these women, I hope they rip
your heart out in the best of ways. I have met these women, and they
are full of more life and love for the Lord than anyone I have ever
met. In meeting them all, I wanted to do was cry with an overwhelming
emotion I cannot explain, but I couldn’t cry because a short 4'5" woman with missing teeth grabbed me by the arm singing with the
biggest smile on her face. Soon after, I found myself in the
dancing circle singing and dancing.
couldn’t cry; they were just too happy and I didn’t want to rob
them of this joy. These women in this community, who had nothing,
were so very happy. This is where happiness is in its purist form.
Living life and supporting one another because it’s what they must
do to live. It wasn’t about a monthly to do at the church or a
biannual event. It wasn’t a way to feel like they had served the
Lord and filled up their Jesus tank.
Good Deeds vs Good Neighbors
family has been on the receiving end of these church groups and good
deed quota filling events. But here I am, killing those same weeds.
While my yard has been cleaned up and repairs fixed, those weeds grew
back, because cancer and grief aren’t a one-time thing. They are a
lifetime thing. While everyone is quick to help once or twice, few
are willing to walk this path; for those few who have we are so very
While my dad was sick and in the months following
his passing a neighbor would push his lawn mower down the street to
our house and cut our grass. He wouldn’t ask or say “Call if you
need anything.” He just did. Friends that call and say “I’m a
minute from your house and coming to visit”--Those are God’s
people. The small group of people whom I would call my parents' true
friends, who showed up to clean and organize our garage without
motive or invite. And this tiny group, even though my Dad no longer
gets to join them on their Friday night Mexican dinners, still always
invites my mom.
I am often asked “Hey, how’s your mom?”.
I have decided I will no longer answer this question. I am not my
mom, and I cannot tell you how she is doing. If you want to know,
call her, message her, stop by the house and find out for yourself.
once had a fortune cookie tell me “Joy shared is doubled, sorrow
shared is halved.” This cannot be more true.
phase of life has taught me to help other without asking and to
listen when a friend needs to talk. I can’t fix the world, or
anything any one else is going through. But I can listen.
short, if you find yourself wanting to share God’s love with
someone in need, please do, but be prepared to pull up the
weeds when they regrow.