Friday, January 3, 2014

The Return of Gracious George

The last two months have been very long. With the exception of the last week-and-a-half that we spent on vacation--which was a lovely respite--we've had at least two people ill at any given time for the last two months. On top of my morning sickness, we went through two different stomach bugs and a nasty cold/flu which turned into sinus infections for Ryan and I. (Three of us came down with another cold the day after we got home from this last trip, and we're battling that now. Sigh.)

I'd like to say I've neglected the blog because I've been sick, but that's only partially true. I've also neglected the blog because the types of things I was seeing and dwelling on were not the types of things I wanted to blog about.

The exhaustion and pity and self-pity on my sick husband's face as he tries to take care of me and the girls when I'm puking and battling a pounding sinus infection. 

My one-year-old standing beside my bed at 4:00 in the afternoon yelling at me, "Wake up! Get up, Mom! Wake up!"

The hurt in my three-year-old's eyes when I tell her she can't cuddle me because I'm too sick.

These things were overwhelming and immediate, and I didn't feel I could write about them yet because I didn't feel like I had any perspective.

At the same time, as a direct counterbalance to all the illness and misery around here, I've been overwhelmed with love and support from wonderful friends. People I didn't even know offered to bring us meals. Several came and cleaned. We were brought a humidifier for the girls' room. People babysat on short notice when I had to run Mari to the E.R. for her ear infection, or when Ryan got sick and couldn't watch the girls during my doctor's appointment.

The night before we left for vacation, I was exhausted and starting to feel sick again, and Ryan was so ill he was nearly unable to get out of bed. I didn't know how I'd ever get us packed and ready for our trip. That night, two dear friends came over. One brought coloring books for the girls and Ginger herb tea for Ryan. One did my dishes while the other folded 5 loads of laundry. They put the girls to bed. They packed our suitcases while I lay on the couch trying not to puke. They stayed until past 11:00 that night, even though both had to work in the morning.

Before they left, one of them got our house key so she could check on the place for us while we were gone.

Three days ago, I got home from a long, tiring day of flying with two toddlers. We'd gotten up at 3:45 in the morning to get to the airport for an early flight, and I was exhausted and starting to feel sick again. I walked in the house, and almost started to cry.

My living room was clean.
My kitchen was spotless.
All our bed linens had been washed to get rid of the sick germs we'd had when we left.
Our mail was sorted into neat piles on the kitchen table, and everything smelled pleasant from an open jar candle sitting on the table.

And there, also sitting on the table, was something that did make me cry.

Gracious George, who taught me so much about selfless service as a child, is teaching me again. (See my last post if you missed who Gracious George is.)

Though I'm still struggling emotionally with the fact that we're sick yet again, and it sometimes feels like we can't catch a break this season, my new Gracious George now sits before me to remind me just how blessed I've been these last two months. I have been so loved and cared for, and the acts of service done have been far greater than the pain of the illness. The sting of sickness will fade, but I'll forever cherish the memories of the love that I've felt as my new friends--people I've only known for a few months at most--continually sought ways to help me and my family.

Thank you to everyone who serves. Thank you for giving love. Thank you for reminding me to focus on the love.