Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of Passage? His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own. The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man! Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm. We, too, are never alone. Even when we don't know it, God is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

Let's be more aware of all the choices, situations, twists and turns that brought us to this place right here and now. They May Be Miracles.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Reaching The Extra Inch...(final post in the trilogy)

I have one final post which falls in the theme of "reaching higher...going the extra mile...reaching out an extra inch..." 
I had wanted to write a bit about this before when I posted my blog "Miracles In The Midst Of Madness," after the death of my dad, but evidently at the time I just needed to write about his death (to read that post click here).  I knew a time would come for me to write more about the MIRACLE OF KINDESS and no time seems more appropriate than NOW - now, when the latest posts have been about reaching an inch higher. 

When my dad was born to eternal life, to me, here on earth, he still died.  Fully understanding and knowing that he is with God and born into eternity is only comforting later...months later...when the shock of him suddenly being gone starts to fade into acceptance.  So, when he suddenly died that early morning on September 20, 2009, my mom and I were in such a state of shock and disbelief that we didn't even know what to say or do.  We asked several times for a priest and it seemed like none could be found.  The chaplain for the hospital spent some time with us but had very few comforting words.  He seemed almost afraid of us.  I kept thinking he felt out of his comfort zone trying to help two very Catholic women...but at the same time I didn't get it because to me a Christian is a Christian no matter the religion and I just needed him to comfort us as Christians.  He kept saying he would try to get us a priest, and finally found one, but when the priest showed up he was from a local monastary and barely knew English.  He had even less words of comfort and did not perform the entire last rights sacrament to the disappointment of my mom.  

I paced and paced and paced the floor in the room where my dad lay dead and my mom sat and held his hand.  I could not sit because I did not want to feel anything.  If I kept pacing I could avoid feeling I thought.  I kept sipping water they had brought us because I needed to keep swallowing. We were in that room for hours because of a miscommunication.  We thought we were waiting for the County Coroner to release his body or for a doctor to sign it off (won't go into details here except that wih his death being sudden sometimes the coroner has to do an autopsy and we preferred that not happening so we were waiting to see if this was ok).  Meanwhile, since they were just up visiting me we had to decide whether we would hold the funeral here where I live or go back to Marion where they were getting ready to move away from.  After about 2 hours in the room I went out to the front desk and asked the nurse if the coroner had called or if a doctor had signed off his body.  She said that they had a long time ago and they were just waiting for us to decide which funeral home would be taking care of the arrangements. 

I had to set up that whole scenerio for you so that you could understand JUST HOW IMPACTFUL these GIFTS, these MIRACLES of kindness were to us.  When speaking about reaching that extra inch I totally think of these people and how much they did for us.

First of all, once we knew we had to call a funeral home, having just moved here I had no idea which one to call.  So I called my sister-in-law, Michelle.  She named two places that she thought would be really good.  THEN, she proceeded to tell me that she would go to my house to watch the kids so that my husband could come and be with us.  This was a Sunday morning and I know she had to get her own family ready for church and I know also that since she's a youth minister that she had a lot of things to do that day.  But everything was set aside that day to come to our aid. I'm eternally grateful to her for going the extra mile, coming to our house with bags full of groceries and snacks for the kids, watching the kids for probably a couple of hours so that my husband could be with us.

Once we got home immediately my mother and father-in-law came over to be with us.  My mother-in-law was still recovering from a colon surgery - but they came!  That was amazing to me...especially since they had a farm to run and it was open to the public that day on top of everything else.  Not only that, they drove all the way to Barberton to pick up buckets of our favorite chicken, then drove all the way back.  This had to be taxing on them knowing she was still recovering from surgery and that the farm was open for business that day.  They reached higher, and went the extra mile and we were so grateful.

My Aunt Mary and my cousin Melissa took time to cook meals and bring them to us...again, it was a long drive for them...Aunt Mary isn't as agile as she once was and Melissa has 4 kids of her own...reaching the extra inch.

Get this one: my sister-in-law's (Traci) step mother (got it?), Sharon, made a TON of food...not really even related...but she spent a day cooking for us...reaching the extra inch.

My friend, Kris, when she called offerred to be here for us however we needed.  She suggested that she could stay with the kids during the funeral.  That never crossed my mind - I thought they would just come.  But once she got here and the more we talked about it it seemed like a good idea for them to come later for the meal.  My oldest came along, but Kris stayed with the kids and brought them to the meal later.  She missed work that day for a non-relative so I know she had to take a vacation day.  Her birthday would be 2 days later (incidently so was Michelle's my sister-in-law).  Kris and Michelle spent 2 days before their birthdays being available for us...reaching the extra inch.

My sister's friend, Mary, who that week had one of her children in surgery(for a broken limb I think?), drove all the way from Buffalo to be here for my sister and our family...reaching the extra inch.

My Aunt Vi (my dad's sister), Uncle Bob (her husband), and several cousins on my dad's side drove over 3 hours to be at the funeral home by 9:00 am that morning.  Uncle Bob has a compromised immune system and was not able to come in to anything - he sat in the car the whole day - and Aunt Vi was torn between caring for him and being present for family - I would say they went several extra inches.

Neighbors and my husband's co-workers and people we barely knew from church since we just moved here...they all came to the funeral home.  George who was our realator and who we came to be friends with while looking for a house here came to the funeral...they were all reaching that extra inch.

The cards, the gifts, the phone calls, the money for masses, the money for my dad's causes...all overwhelming...all grately appreciated...the exta inch.

I stated in my post "Miracles in the Midst of Madness" that I never liked helping others go through their pain.  I know this is because I never really knew WHAT to do.  This is because nothing like this had ever happened in my life - I had nothing to draw from.  If any good can come to me now from all of this it is that I might have an idea of what to do to help someone else.  May we all learn from the examples of kindness that other people give us.  I can not put into words the value of these miracles of KINDNESS...there are no words of appreciation that can ever be enough.  But God knows how thankful we are.  I can only hope to pay it forward to the next person in need.

I'm amazed at the generosity of people - I see how much people are willing to give and help in times of crisis.  The Tsunami victims, Hurricane Katrina victims, the earthquake in Haiti, and now the earthquake in Chile...God gave us all these amazing abilities and capacities to help.  Let us all think of what "the extra inch" is for us...and go there...and do it. 


Robin said...

Hi There..nice to meet you..!Im so sorry to hear of your fathers sounds like you have wonderful caring people around you...such comfort for your family in hard times..i know what you mean about not knowing what to do..there was a time I felt like that as well because I had not gone through anything similar to others...but we all learn in our own way...and now I'm sure you will be there for others as their miracle...Take Care..!

May Be Miracles said...

You're right...we do eventually learn in our own way...right? And thank goodness, because now having been on the receiving side I know how important it is to give.

You take care too...see you over at your blog :-)

veterankindergartenteacher said...

What a beautiful post about helping others or going the extra "inch" as you call it. I am so sorry about your Father's passing but I am so thankful that many people went out of their way to help your family during their time of need.


Freely Living Life said...

We just found your blog and are glad we did! :)

Dustine said...

Thank you...yes, people are mostly wonderful, aren't they? Always being reminded that we're made in the image of God. Take care...I've got some catching up on my reading to do since returning from vacation!

Dustine said...

Freely Living Life,
So glad you were able to stop by! I'll head your way shortly! Just returning from vacation, so I have some catching up to do!!