I have so much joy in my heart today. I am beyond blessed. I am so grateful for my family and friends, the heroes in my life, the lovers and fighters who I see braving their own battles fiercely each day.
When times get really tough we have to look even harder for joy. Sometimes the best way to create joy when you’re drowning is to throw someone else a rope. A random of act of kindness, a pot of soup for a sick friend, a random doughnut delivery on a rainy day.
Glennon Doyle Melton, author of Carry On, Warrior and founder of Momastery says, “We belong to each other.” More than anything, these last few years of hardship have taught me that. And I know it’s not just me feeling it! Everywhere I look I see strangers and friends all fighting really insane battles right now. Divorces, moves, financial upheavals, breast cancer, brain cancer, special needs children, you name it.
I think these crisis’ are happening to collectively shift us back into a culture of basic human interdependence. We have to take care of each other!!!! It unites us!!! It empowers both parties – the giver and the receiver! It creates a give and take that threads us all together as netting beneath the trapeze dances we’re dancing. Every single one of us at some point has needed to be reminded we are not fighting alone! Truly, we can’t go it alone, and we SHOULDN’T go it alone.
When we see someone drowning we should fight our way into their homes and hearts to let them know they’re not alone. A few amazing women have worked hard to let me know I wasn’t alone the last couple years and they have taught me how to be a better friend. My friend Corina is a great example. After our daughter Kama was born in November, some of my friends set up a Meal Train for us where one family brings a homemade meal each day for a couple of weeks. Around here, Meal Trains are standard. I love that about my community.
So, my friend Corina saw our Meal Train pop on Facebook one day, and not even knowing me decided to contribute. She brought a beautiful meal and secretly hoped knocking on my door would lead to a new friendship. She knocked that day, and she kept on knocking for months. She dropped the meal off when I was in bed recovering from hemorrhaging after the birth. Then, she came back to pick up her dish when I was in bed recovering from a week in the hospital with a life-threatening postpartum uterine infection and the whole house had the flu. Then, she came back and brought us chicken soup when we all got yet another round of the flu. 2 days later, she texted me, “Had a little more soup leftover, thought you could have it for lunch today. Mama’s gotta keep her strength up!”
She had no idea I literally felt like death for 7 months straight, that I’d faced a life-threatening illness in the hospital for a week, that I’d had only about 6 days without a cold or flu in the house over the last 7 months, and that I was also suffering from severe postpartum depression and anxiety. She just kept showing up because her heart told her to.
Because of that, we now have a beautiful friendship, which fills both our hearts with joy. She has become one of my greatest friends and teachers. And you’ll never believe it. Once I finally had a chance to open the door and let her in, we realized we had something pretty amazing in common. Remember Dana, from Safeway?
She’s his daughter.
WHO. WOULD. HAVE. THOUGHT?!
We had no idea.
But, I’m not the least bit surprised. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Corina, and people like my BFF Ashley have taught me how to really “show up” for others. Today, Ashley is home with her special needs “hero” and son, Kayson, who just barely recovered from complications after a minor surgery to end up with the flu! The flu can be very scary for a kid with special needs and I know that. I know that being Ashley’s BFF means one day I might be sitting at a hospital bedside holding my lovely Ashley as she huddles over her lifeless son. We try not to think about that, but it’s a job I willingly signed up for because she is a piece of my heaven on Earth and I’d do anything for her. She’s saved my life again and again by showing up for me when I needed to know I was not alone.
So today, I didn’t care what was going on in my world, when I heard “flu” I just put on my boots and my “messy bun” do and ran right over there to just show up because I know how it feels when one thing after another after another goes wrong, and your faith is wavering, and you just need someone to look you in the eye and say, “Hey, I know this sucks. I’m here. We’ll get through it together. You’re NOT in this alone.” I brought her a donut and another friend sent chocolates and I stood in the rain outside her door and I told Ashley she could have my arm or my leg if she needed it. She said, thanks for the donut, and I won’t be needing a leg today, but I’ll call you later if I need a margarita or a bag of sand to put my head in.
THIS is how we throw each other ropes. This is how we get through all the hard and wonderful things of life. TOGETHER.
Corina, my BFF Ashley, and a few other amazing loves in my life have fought hard to let me know I’m not alone. They have taught me how to be a better friend, how to show up for others even when it’s hard, how to be relentless in the persistence of SHOWING UP WITH A BASKET OF LOVE AT OTHERS’ DOORSTEPS. Sometimes, when you’re drowning, you don’t even have time to come up for air to figure out what you need or how to get it. It’s those times, you need someone to just show up and bring donuts, or toilet paper, or pizza or soup or kleenex!!!!! More and more, even when we are busy and tired and overwhelmed and sad and hopeless ourselves, we need to “suit up and show up” for every stranger and friend we see drowning, transitioning or fighting their own battle. If nothing else, to hand them an umbrella and stand together beneath it ’til the storms pass.
Get your boots on and your donuts out, and just show up at a doorstep today and see what happens. Or, just open your door and let the person knocking…in. That’s how you save a life…one knock, one heart at a time. ❤