Every day I count my blessings. Well... maybe not count them, per say... but I'm aware of them and every day I notice new blessings I failed to recognize the day before.
Early Winter, I was given a gift in the form of a friend who happened to live next door! Sharon is a strong, independent, seventy year old woman and we first met while shoveling snow. About two feet of snow, to be exact. She genuinely came to my driveway, took off her glove (because she's a lady with manners!) and shook my hand while introducing herself. We exchanged pleasantries and after she walked away, I felt a pull or a tug, or a nudge, or something in my heart saying: "Invite her over!"
I did. I spoke up, saying: "Sharon!" As she turned around... I said, "Would you like to come over for coffee one day next week? I have very few friends here in Muncie, and you're very kind, and you live next door!"
She chuckled and agreed. I was excited.
Her first visit felt natural... like we'd known each other for years. She brought me a "housewarming" gift, and I made scones. We talked for hours and as she readied herself to leave, we hugged... both thankful to have a friend in such close proximity with so many kindred qualities. How is it possible a woman of immense grace, wisdom and kindness could have such a spark with me!?
Sharon's visits have been a weekly occurrence since January, and I have to say, it's been an immense blessing. Sharon has listened to my heart, offered advice, loved on my kiddo, brought food over, helped me paint my house, met both my mother and mother-in-law, shared her story with me (my favorite!) and made me feel valued in her own life. It's amazing how much of a difference one person can make in the life of another, and Sharon has done exactly that for me.
Sharon is a blessing with a big heart.
This past week, Sharon suffered from a stroke and though she is at home now, the injury has taken parts of herself that allow her to love others in her special way... like her speech. My heart felt the blow and my breath caught in my throat as her kind husband told me what happened over the phone, because... well... it just sucks. I felt shocked and painfully aware of how much I care for my friend.
Sharon is a woman of great strength and dignity... sharing her gifts and talents in this community. She has served those who are unwell and loved on those who need love. She is an immense gift to all of us, and when we grow to love a person like Sharon, we too feel her pain in our own hearts. I feel her loss. I also feel the hope of recovery, but right now... I feel the loss.
As we learn more about what has happened to Sharon's body and mind, I can only hope we can serve her just as well as she has served us. To give her the feeling of being loved and valued... treasured. To remind her that she is special, not for all the things she has done for us... but because her spirit is unique, loving and tender. As Sharon copes with and learns to recover from her injury, I hope to remind her that she has been one of my biggest blessings in my own life and will continue to be so. She is my blessing with a big heart.