And, I think it's my Dad's fault.
When I was a little girl, my Daddy was my hero. A total pain in my tail, yes, but still just the *best*. I was (and still am) a Daddy's girl. Some days I have no idea why... and then sometimes I remember- because I am just like him. (Example?: Elizabeth got on the phone with him a few weeks ago and said, "Dadaw, can I come to your house sometime?" Being 3, she knew he would immediately say yes... cause that's what Grandparents do, right? Not my Dad. After a lengthy pause when she was anticipating a yes he said, "No, probably not." He gave her just the amount of time to let that register before they both started laughing... then E said "You're teasing, right?" Yep. I didn't fall far from that sarcastic tree.)
With all of the things Daddy taught me in life (add V-8 to chili, never let the truth get in the way of a good story, beer before liquor- never sicker, etc.), he taught me this: at all cost, you take care of people.
He lived, by example, putting the needs of others ahead of his own (and sometimes mine, too.) He showed me how to take meals to people when they are sick or in need. He took a day off of work one day when, after giving a man and his son a ride to school when their car had broken down, he realized this man was in need of new clothes. After school that day he picked me up and told me he'd spent a good part of the day in the mall with this man, supplying he and his family with nearly a new wardrobe. And he always made gestures like that teachable: "It's just what you do, Doodle."
So because of that example, that's how I try to live. That, coupled with the whole "well, God commands us to do it", too, part.
Because of that, I think I have expectations that others will do the same. When they don't, I get my feelings hurt. Which is NOT what my Daddy would want me to do.
Today, I was blessed with 2 like-minded givers: My dear friend, Beth, drove from Chapel Hill to have lunch with me. Beth and I were on church staff together... and, God bless her, I'm likely the main reason she wasn't able to be more efficient with her time during the years 1998-2002. Her office was right beside mine and I had to pass her desk to get to my office every day. Yet she never (well, mostly never) pushed me toward my office if I stopped to talk. She made time for me in her life. She knew my friends. She spoke my language. And today, she showed up with homemade soup (because she'd made it for me in the past and remembered I liked it) and a decorated cup (!! yay !!) full of various candy because she couldn't remember what my favorite kind was. Every time I am around her, I leave her presence refreshed.
This afternoon, my sweet friend Tina came by to drop off something she'd earlier done for me. A couple weeks ago she said "Look, I am going to help you... so help me help you... tell me what I can do to help, or I'll make something up." I asked her to run an errand for me that I wasn't able to do, and today she was returning for me what she'd picked up. Along with a McDonald's hot fudge sundae (heaven in a plastic cup) and a side of homemade brownies. Ladies from MOMS will remember me telling the story of Tina swooping in after our last miscarriage, too, with similarly helpful gestures.
It's just what you do, Doodle.
I've had so many helpful friends who have supported us during the last month... our next-door neighbor mowed our yard without our asking. (Dan told me to tell him I'll be sick until October. I am not looking a gift-mower in the mouth!) My friend Joanie refused to take my lack of a response as an answer and, similarly to Tina, said "I'm coming. You tell me what food you want me to bring." I've had flowers, stationery, CDs, books, nightgowns, scarves, DVDs, alligators, food, etc. delivered... and you people apparently know how to speak my love language.
I am blessed beyond measure. I have been surprised constantly at how many people love the way I need to be loved- the way my earthly Daddy taught me to and the way my heavenly Father expects. It hurts me to not be be the caretaker right now that I want to be, but as my fave author, Jen Hatmaker said via Facebook last week: Heal, heal, heal...in the meantime, revel in the fact that others are doing your laundry and loving your people. A true gift that most people never experience...
So, now I spend my evenings writing thank you notes. And enjoying showing my daughter what it's like to be not only the giver, but the receiver of blessings. There are some she is more than happy to accept.
One final thought... (I'm way wordier than you are, Jenni...) My sweet friend, Marie, kept my daughter all day yesterday when I was just unable to be a recovering-patient and be a Mom at the same time. This is the 3rd or 4th time she's done that in the last few weeks.
After she dropped E off and left I went to check the mail. Marie's mom, who I really don't know all that well, had sent me a Get Well card... with a restaurant gift certificate inside. Speaking of apples not falling far from their (good influence) trees...
When I grow up, I will likely still be a needy friend. But I pray that I will have taught my daughter, by example, how to take care of her needy friends. I want her to love others in the model of Marie's, and Beth's, and Tina's, and all of these other super friends I have. It's how I want her to live.... because it's just what you do.
*** Please know, I get so nervous when I give shout-outs because there are so many of you I could never possibly shout-out enough all the things you've done for us. So, take that as a big fat thank you, k? I love you all. ****