Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lift Where You Stand

Today was frustrating. I have been looking for a job for a long time. I finally had an interview, but found out it was cancelled when I arrived. I left feeling a little discouraged. I really need to find a job, and the longer it takes, the more stressed I feel. I would like to find work that is meaningful, that would allow me to bless the lives of others, as well as support my family. I guess I have just been thinking lately, “What can I do to make a difference? What am I supposed to be doing with my life right now?”

This thought came to me, “LIFT WHERE YOU STAND.” It is the title of one of my favorite church talks (here). I think it has multiple meanings, but perhaps the most pertinent is YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE, NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE.

Though my influence is small, I can help those who I love and care about just by continuing to love and care! We live in such a “look at me” society that I think that we sometimes think that we lack the power or influence to really do much good. We probably all know this, but how many of us really believe it? The greatest heroes are those unsung, but we focus on the ones that stand it the spotlight, because, well, they are easier to recognize. I guess my point is, it probably doesn’t really matter where I end up working or what I end up doing. There are opportunities all around me, everywhere, everyday, for me to make a difference. I just have to look for them, and remind myself that they are there.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Nobody or Somebody

I have been in the process of organizing our office the past couple of days (a huge undertaking, let me tell you). Today, I stumbled upon a slightly tattered paper containing a poem that means a lot to me.

This poem was written by an elderly lady named Loudean Lamb. I met Loudean when some of my friends and I went to an elderly home to visit with the people who lived there. We had a nice evening of meeting new people, and listening to stories. Loudean was very welcoming, she invited us into her room and shared several verses of poetry she had written herself.

I was especially touched by the poem below, and told her so. Loudean then presented me with my very own copy. It is a poem I have shared with many other people along the way. Its message is especially powerful coming from a sweet old lady, whose hands were so crippled with arthritis that she couldn’t even unclench them.

Nobody or Somebody

Sometimes I feel like a nobody.
Do you sometimes feel that way too?
Like no one would know if I wasn’t here.
Does that ever happen to you?
When you walk in a room no one sees you,
You speak and no one seems to hear.
Did you ever feel like this happened,
More than one or two times this past year?
Well, the very next time that it happens,
Go somewhere and look in a mirror,
Then talk to yourself and say,
“Listen! You’re somebody! Do you hear!?”

Who would sit in your chair at the table?
Who would sleep in your bed every night?
Who would comfort a friend, who was troubled,
Telling them, things would soon be alright?
So you see you really are needed.
There is nobody exactly like you.
You are the only somebody,
That can do the things that you do.
So when you feel like a nobody,
Go and look at yourself in a mirror.
And say to the image you see there,
“You’re really somebody, my dear.”
- Loudean Lamb


Meet my dear friend, Emily. Emily and I have been friends since our sophomore year of college. We were neighbors in the same apartment complex, and became such good friends that we decided to be roommates the next year. We have been the best of friends ever since. In fact, even after we were both married, we lived in the same apartment complex and enjoyed getting together with our husbands to play games, eat dinner, or just spend time together.

Emily is one of my greatest examples of faith. She graciously agreed to let me write an post about her to share with you. Emily and her husband, Richard, received the devastating news that they would likely never be able to have children of their own. I think you would probably have to experience a similar situation yourself to fully understand what a trial infertility can be. It is hard to wait for something you want so much. It is hard to watch those around you obtain what you want so desperately. But, you would never know the heartbreak Emily and her husband carry around from their actions. They are some of the kindest people on earth.

The best way to illustrate my admiration for Emily is through sharing a story.

Emily and I attended the baby shower of a common friend together. We ate some yummy food, and played a few games before the time arrived to open presents. Our friend sat in the center of a semi circle and began to open her gifts. She received many thoughtful items. After each gift was opened, it was passed around for everyone to admire. Little dresses, shoes, toys, and bottles made their way around the circle. The time came for our friend to open Emily’s gift. Inside the wrapping paper was the most beautiful baby blanket. Made by Emily in a sweet shade of pink. I don’t know how long it took her to crochet that blanket, but I’m certain that she spent more time on her present than I had on mine. I think it would be hard to stitch that blanket, row by row, while wondering when your time will come. Which is why, to me, that blanket stands in my memory as a symbol of selflessness. It takes the most courage to celebrate with someone when you would like to be in their situation.

I feel sad that Emily and Richard have to face such a trial. But I know that someday (hopefully soon) they will make the most wonderful adoptive parents.

To quote Emily herself:

“I can't start my family now or ever the way I wanted and planned to, but because of the times we live in now (as compared to when medical advances weren't as good or adoption wasn't something people did), we can have a family. And I have a wonderful family now with my husband.

So, I am and will try to be the kind that sees signs, that sees miracles. Because nothing is just coincidence. God is over all.”

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Dad

I know that many girls consider their dad to be their hero. I know mine is. But my respect and love for him deepens each day as I watch him battle against Parkinson’s disease. It is difficult to describe the anguish of watching an illness slowly strip away at a person’s health. It is especially difficult to watch this happen to someone you dearly love. I’m sure it is a hundred times worse for the person afflicted with the disease themselves. My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when he was only forty-five years old, when I was just a freshman in college. But my dad does not focus on his problems, because he chooses instead to help those around him. I have never met a more generous person.

The first summer after Spencer and I were married, Dad came out to visit us. We were house sitting for my cousin that summer, and were excited to host a guest in a little place of our own. Saturday was the day reserved for housework and yard work. Spencer and I were so busy during the week that we had to put off the more intensive chores until our day off. Saturday morning we woke up to realize that we didn’t know where Dad was.We found him outside, mowing our lawn. The lines in the grass were a little crooked, because his balance was not as good as it once was. But I have never seen a more beautifully manicured lawn.

He saw something simple he could do to help us, and he did it. That’s the kind of person he is. That’s the kind of person I want to be.