(I love telling stories. It might be my favorite “style” of writing. It is, without a doubt, the stuff that most of my readers best respond to. This year, I want to tell you some stories about my past– about people who’ve made me who I am today. Some will be happy, some will be sad. Some you will find encouraging, some you will find maddening. But they all have one thing in common. They are all: People Who’ve Made Me Who I Am Today.)
So, today, for my “People Who Made Me Who I Am” post, I’d really like to briefly highlight two friends of mine– one “virtual” (who I am determined to make “IRL” some day) and one already in real life. These two women are both lovely, faithful mothers who model strong values for their children. They both eat well and value good nutrition. And that’s great. But that’s not what I want to talk about today.
What both women REALLY have in common, in my eyes, is a natural ability to reach out and give and help.
M. is in my Moms’ Ministry group with me. She is, in fact, one of the two women who got that particular ministry rolling again within our parish. There are lots of great things about her, but you know what I noticed right away? She has a natural way of lending a hand. When a mom with twins was juggling them her first time there? M. offered to handle one of the bottles. When a mom of three had a crying preschooler and a needy toddler? M. was there with arms to lend. She does the things many of us might eventually think of– but she gets there so much faster. It’s amazing. I admire that so much.
My online friend who inspires the pants off me in this regard? Well, that would be Laura. Sweet Laura has reached out to me at difficult times in so many kind and thoughtful ways. When I mentioned not being able to find tights for G? A package arrived in the mail with not only several cute pairs of tights, but some adorable fleece jammies, too. When I lost our precious fourth child? Laura sent a variety of things to bring comfort. The list goes on and on.
But, perhaps most incredible to me, was this occasion. When A. was hospitalized last December, I called my husband on the day they planned to discharge him. “What’s the plan? What’s going on?” I asked.
“He should be released soon,” he said. “He’s just sitting here looking through the goody bag of stuff from your friend Laura.”
“What?” I questioned. “I don’t even know what you’re talking about!”
Turns out Laura, with her endless and on-top-of-things compassion, had called the hospital and had them put together some fun stuff for our little guy– perfect stuff. You would thought she’d known him personally for years and years. She has a gift for knowing just what to do and doing it right away.
So, other than proving that I have some great friends, what does this have to do with anything? What does this have to with “people making me who I am”?
Well, I’m trying to step out. I’m trying to respond just as quickly as I think of it. When I saw the man in Aldi who needed help? I just did it. I didn’t think about it, or worry that he’d think I was over-stepping, or question anything– I just did it.
When the young man at Dollar Tree mentioned how much liked 3 Muskateers? I just gave him one. I didn’t over-analyze any of it.
I’m trying to learn more and more from these ladies.
When plans with a friend fell through last week due to her being home with two sick children? I made a pizza and took it to her house. Was it natural for me? Yes and no. I thought of it right away. But I’m one who’s inclined to over-think it and worry that I’ll be intruding. I pushed that worry down this time and just went.
And you know what? It was totally the right choice. I think it almost always is. I just need to stop questioning my gut and roll with it.
I’m lucky to have two such fabulous mentors as I learn.
Other people who’ve made me who I am: