People are so good. Better than I expect, most of the time. And every once in awhile I am completely blown away by the sheer goodness and sensitivity of the people around me. This past week has been one of those blow-me-away times, time after time. Here are just three examples:
Last weekend we went out to dinner with our friends Nat and Jenn. First, they got us tickets to the play Jennifer directed (Nat designed the sets). These two have worked on Broadway and are mega-talented -- they make a terrific team. Their little community theater is so lucky to have them on board. Afterward we went out to dinner, and Jenn leaned across the table and started telling me that she's been reading my blog (I honestly had no idea; she never comments.) She said she feels like she's come to know me so much better since she started reading my posts (which is amazing, coming from someone who's been a close friend for over ten years). Then she said that my most recent posts (mostly about our son and our struggles with him) were very moving and she wanted to do something for me.
She opened a little silk bag she'd been holding and said, "So I made you this. It's kind of my new fetish." Laughingly, she assured me I would find nothing like it in The Mall (which led me to believe she had read this post.) She pulled out the coolest bracelet, a loose silver chain decorated with an assortment of vintage buttons in various shades of pink. It sounds like a rain stick whenever I move my wrist. Then she pointed to one larger silver button and opened it up. Turns out it's a locket. She had talked to Jeff in advance, and conspired with him to get a photo of our oldest son to put inside. I was so moved by her thoughtfulness and such a mother-to-mother, heartfelt gesture, it took all the self-control I could muster just to keep from dissolving in tears right there at the table. (I don't like to cry in public.) I was amazed at the thought behind this treasure of a gift.
Then the following Friday I had lunch with my friend Eowyn. We first met in person last November. Every time we get together there is laughter and sharing, and we both feel better about our lives. And this was no exception. But instead of going out to a restaurant, we had lunch at her house. Driving there for the first time, I wondered what it would be like. I knew it would be lovely, because she is lovely.
But, my friends, lovely doesn't quite do it justice. I was greeted at the door by a delighted Eowyn, followed by a diapered toddler. All of which made me smile. But I was also greeted by the smell of homemade bread, wafting through the house. In fact, the main course? was her delicious, freshly-baked bread (She makes six loaves a week) and three flavors of homemade jam. Then, when it was time to leave, she sent me home with one of those delicious still-warm loaves of bread, and my pick of the three flavors of jam. I got them home and set them on the counter and just looked at them, spellbound. Because what could be more comforting and nurturing and maternal than fresh-baked bread? First it had fed me, both body and soul, and now it was filling my whole house. Another wonderful gift.
Later that afternoon my dad came over to help me take some paintings to a museum. We talked excitedly about our upcoming workshop and our plans for promoting it. We had a great time just being together (even though we got stuck in a colossal and unforeseen traffic jam and never even made it to the museum). :) Then as he was leaving my house, he took another step back towards me and told me that the last couple of times he's seen me I've looked completely exhausted, and he's been a little worried about me. Then he said if things get feeling tough, he'd love to give me a father's blessing.
That just about undid me. Such a sweet offer from my dad, who rarely makes a comment about our lives and almost goes out of his way not to interfere. I walked back inside and up the stairs and burst into tears. And not just tears, but huge, audible, chest-heaving sobs. Something about the goodness and perceptiveness of that offer brought all my emotions to the surface. It wasn't sadness. It was almost like a watershed of relief. I was not invisible. Someone noticed. Acknowledged that this is hard. Saw that I was carrying a heavy burden and offered to help lift it.
I was so touched that three* different people were inspired, each using their own gifts, to bless my life. That could only have come from Someone who truly knows my heart. It had to have come straight from God.
*And actually there have been so many more...