Friday, December 23, 2011

My Best Christmas Present Ever

I was asked to speak in church this past Sunday. I may as well been told the end of the world was near. You see, I don't particularly like to talk in church, but I do it anyway. Kind of a type of self torture, I guess. But I told this story in my talk and decided that it would make a good blog post. And since I haven't written a whole lot lately I figured I would post what I have written. So to those of you who didn't have to hear me in person, you get to read it minus my shaky chipmunk voice and trembling hands. And to those of you who suffered through it already, I'm sorry and God bless you.

When I was growing up our family had a paper route which had to be completed every day, even on Christmas. I should say especially on Christmas, as the papers were very large due to the fact that they were stuffed with the ads for the sales to occur the following day. 
The massive amounts of ads caused the paper to be delivered in two parts requiring us to assemble the paper before trying to stretch a wimpy rubber band around the massive girth of those Christmas papers. Needless to say, many a rubber band broke making the delivery process even more tedious and lengthy. 
 Oh, how I loathed delivering those papers on Christmas morning.
It wasn’t just the process of getting the papers delivered, but the fact that we couldn’t open any packages or see any of our Christmas until all of the papers were done. The time came that the paper route became my responsibility after being passed down through all of my brothers and after 6 years of helping, I would be delivering the Christmas morning papers alone. 
I dreaded the very thought.
Christmas morning came and I could hear my parents upstairs rustling around and I knew that soon they would be coming for me. So true to the lazy teenager that I was, I pulled my covers up closer around me, clinging to the warmth and comfort that my bed offered and quickly drifted back to sleep. 
When I woke up some time later, knowing that my parents usually woke us around 6:00, I put off looking at the clock not wanting know the minutes left before the impending doom would occur. And that’s when it dawned on me that the light beyond my closed eyelids was a little too bright for 6am. I stole an glance at the clock- it was 9:06! The papers were late!
I rushed upstairs questioning my mom along the way. 
“Where are the papers? How come you didn’t get me up sooner?”  
My mother just smiled and said, “Merry Christmas! We got you a sub.”
Over the years, I have been asked about the best present I have ever received and to this day it remains the time my parents arranged a sub on Christmas morning for my paper route. This gift was nothing concrete that I could hold in my hands and only lasted the length of a morning, but the feeling and sentiment behind what others hands had done for me that morning has stuck with me for the last 20 years.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Back From Black

It has taken me over a month to get this post written due to computer complications (who knew a little light bulb could cause such a ruckus) and it isn't even what I really wanted to convey to you. But honestly, those feelings are hard for me to put into words. By the time you get to the end of it, I hope you understand and forgive me.

If the whole wedding reception tradition hadn't been so formal when I got married, I would have had two Bridesmen along with my Bridesmaids standing in the reception line. One of them would have been this guy, my friend, Digger.

Obviously, Digger is not his real name, but it is what he has gone by as long as I have known him and he still answers to it today. He is one of my best friends from high school who let me drag him to early morning Seminary Morningsides and kept Mr. Trimble's Spanish class, down right bearable. He could make me smile on the worst of days and took me to Senior Cotillion, when my R.M. boyfriend (Richard) had no interest in attending a high school dance. Although, I know Digger would have rather taken the girl that is now his wife.

But that life seems like a hundred lifetimes ago before we traded in the responsibilities and fun of high school for those of grown ups with families of our own.

Over the last three months, as I have gotten my children settled in to a new school year, Digger has watched as doctors at PCMC settled his little girl, Gracie, into a medically induced coma. As I have shuttled my kids to and from basketball, football, and other lessons, he has watched as Gracie has been shuttled to and from the operating room for various procedures to stop or slow down the seizures that have taken hold of  her little 9 year old body. Over the last month, as I woke my children to each new day Digger and his wife, Mindy, have wondered if this would be the day they saw their daughters eyes again as the doctors brought her slowly out of the coma.

Sometimes life seems really unfair.

I want to tell you Digger and Gracie's story because of a video I saw the other day. It was delivered to our inbox from a radio talk show host that we regularly receive mass emails from. It was a video where a toddler, about the age of two, is hit by a delivery van in a Chinese marketplace and how many minutes elapse before anyone helps the crying baby. It was honestly, the most horrific thing I have ever seen. The horrifying part not being seeing that child cry out in pain, but to watch 18 different people walk or drive by, obviously notice the child and not do ANYTHING! I didn't, because I couldn't, watch the whole thing.

The talk show's host intent on sharing the video was to show what living in a communistic country, under heavy rule by the government in all aspects of their lives, does to the charitable and basic humanity of its inhabitants.

 I guess he got his point across because I started to think about Digger's little Gracie, her situation and how the people of the communities in Utah (and I'm sure other places as well) have handled it. Here is a little girl and her family who have spent over 100 days in Primary Children's in the fight of their lives, just like the toddler laying in the street. This fight has taken a heavy toll on their family- both emotionally and financially. Instead of walking by and hoping that the next guy will do something many people, some that know Gracie and even more that don't, have stopped to give aid to a girl and her family in need.

People have organized and carried out a 5K and carnival with enough participants to catch the media's eye. Neighborhoods have held yard and bake sales. Friends and family have participated in special fasts. Restaurants have held dinners in Gracie's honor and donated the profits. Accounts have been set up where annoymous donations can be made. It has blown me away to see how people have stepped up and poured out all kinds of charity simply because of the goodness of their hearts.

This is the world I am thankful to live in.

A world where, thanks in part to those friends and strangers who have not only supported Gracie financially, but also with positive thoughts and prayers, she opened her eyes after 11 weeks in a coma on 11/11/11. And now a month later, she has been moved out of the ICU to a Neuro Unit and is making miraculous strides in her rehab and recovery.

Isn't it amazing what a little compassion, coupled with hope and prayer can do? It saddens my heart to think of children living in worlds where compassion is crushed by the fear of  "getting involved" and hope and prayer are nonexistent in a God-less society. Now I know the video is not indicative of all Chinese people as a whole, so here is my hope and my prayer that the baby laying in the street was afforded a miracle, just like Gracie .