Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It really is A BIG DEAL

Unexpected blessings…..
As I was walking out the door yesterday to go to work, I noticed that three of my four goldfish (check out my blog if you haven’t read about the silly goldfish:;postID=8931700330814565075;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=16;src=postname)
 that I had brought in from my garden pond had died and were floating on the top of my aquarium. They were fine the night before when I fed them and had been flourishing for a couple of weeks now in the aquarium on the kitchen counter. I have no idea what happened or why one made it and the others didn’t. I must admit that my heart sank when I saw them and I felt like a sad 5-year-old as I flushed them down the stool. It was not the way I had not expected this day to begin and I drove to work feeling a bit defeated…..all over a few  silly goldfish.

Although the day started off a bit gloomy, I had several completely unexpected “blessings” happen to me throughout the day. About an hour into my day, a student worker came into my office and handed me an envelope that someone had dropped off for me at the front desk. I asked who left it but the student did not know. There was no name on the envelope but it had my name and a message on it. I opened it up and inside was a gift certificate to a local salon for a manicure and a couple of pages of ideas/recipes about watermelon.  WHAT? Who would be so kind?  I’m 51 years old and I have never had a professional manicure before.  What a wonderful surprise…..a generous gift from a stranger….. and a blessing to me on a day when I was feeling blue about some dead goldfish.  I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face as I thought about the new experience that was ahead for me; one that likely most of you ladies have had many times or take for granted. Oh…what color nail polish will I choose??????  Even my young nieces have had a manicure….but not this girl….YET! This will be so cool…..such a little thing for many….but a really big deal for me!  Thank you….to whomever left that gift….not just for giving me a new experience….but for the kind words on the envelope and the warm fuzzy that it brought on an otherwise melancholy day.

A few minutes later when I was headed up to teach my class, I was stopped by an administrator. I was standing there holding the large box that had my supplies for class when a student came up, took the box from my hands, and said, “Where does this need to go, Theresa?”  I immediately thanked him for his kindness and he said, “It’s no big deal” and off he went to my classroom on the 2nd floor. What a kind, thoughtful gesture on his part.

At lunchtime I was greeted by a student/friend, Bambi, who had another unexpected surprise/gift for me. She had hand embroidered two beautiful pillowcases for me. They are lovely with four bluebirds on a branch and a special message that reads, “Smile with the power of God always.”  What a lovely gift….hand made by her….and once again, given on a day when I needed it.  I didn’t know what to say or how to respond to the kindness, but once again, God smiled on me and sent me a bit of encouragement to keep on keeping on. Only a few minutes after that, my friend Marcia gave me a new microwavable bowl with a lid to heat up my soup each day at lunch. It will be a daily reminder of the blessing of friends and the wonderful people God sends us to share our journey.

Late in the afternoon I received a phone call from my friend. He told me to go home first after voting before stopping to his house after work. I was puzzled, but he proceeded to tell me that he had went over to my  place and ‘winterized’ my house by shutting off the water to the outdoor pipes, draining the hoses, shutting off the faucets in the well, and attaching the insulating board to the outside of the house. This was another unexpected surprise/blessing and just added to the ‘hugs” from God that I received all day long. We have snow and cold temperatures in the forecast and the winterization is one of those projects that was on my ‘to-do list” of things to deal with and one that I can’t quite do by myself.  I smiled to think that he had thought of me and did that kind gesture….without even being asked.  Another unexpected blessing on a day when God knew I needed it.

I am, by no means, a woman who has ever needed/desired/received expensive gifts, fancy vehicles, flashy jewelry, or luxury vacations. I’m a rather ordinary, down-to-earth, quirky kind of girl that lives on a dirt road, drives a 15-year-old car (with duct tape on my broken headlight at the moment), shops at thrift stores, and leads a rather simple life. These gestures of kindness meant more to me than I can really say…..mostly because they were given with a sentiment of love, care, and concern.

 I don’t know who gave me the manicure, but likely if I had the opportunity to say THANK YOU, my words would have been met with, “It’s really no big deal, Theresa”….but to me….It IS a VERY BIG deal because it will provide me with a new experience (and an opportunity to push myself beyond my comfort zone as I allow a stronger to get close enough to touch my hands) and the words written on the envelope… “You are an inspiration to many….” encouraged me to keep doing what I can to help others.  When I was expressing my gratitude to Bambi about the pillowcases, she kept saying, “It’s not a big deal; it’s just what I do to keep busy (or something like that)”  To her, it might be just something that she does to fill her time…but to me…it was a wonderful thing and means a great deal. I will put those special pillowcases on a pillow on my lazy boy where I write.  They will bring me encouragement when I need to feel like I what I do matters.  When I was trying to convey my appreciation to my friend about the water pipes, he kept saying, “Well, it had to be done and you don’t have time to do it. It wasn’t that big of a deal.”  To him; perhaps it wasn’t a big deal, but to me, it was a very big deal because it was something that I needed to take care of and couldn’t do by myself.

Whenever I speak to a group where the focus is not specifically about weight loss, I often talk about the 5 or 6 ‘random” conversations that I had with people that led up to my decision to begin this journey. The dentist that said to me, “Theresa, you really shouldn’t drink so much soda; you need to drink water”….words that I just “blew off” for a couple of weeks, the eccentric hairdresser who looked at me in the mirror (at 428 pounds) and said, “Theresa, just because you are sick; in pain; sad; miserable…etc…doesn’t mean that you are not worth the effort to take care of yourself…let me cut your hair.”….words that literally made me go, “Hmmm……I guess I really don’t care….whether I live or die, and finally, my rheumatologist who replied to my comment that I just couldn’t live like that much longer, “Theresa, I’d be more concerned about just living….period”….words that made me understand for the first time that I was a ticking time bomb and I had better do something NOW if I wasn’t ready to die, all played a role in my decision to change my life.  These conversations were really, “No big deal” to any of those individuals…likely conversations they have with others countless times a week…...and yet…..they literally changed my life and were a REALLY BIG DEAL to me.  My point??  We just do not ever know how what we say; the kindness we show; the “no big deal things” that we do can positively impact the lives of another and can turn someone’s bad day into one of joy. 

Each day we are given an opportunity to change not only our own lives, but also the lives of those around us. The potential to turn someone’s day around; to bring a smile to those who are hurting; to show love to those who are lonely; and to bring light into someone’s darkness is a blessing that is given to EACH OF US…..regardless of the circumstances of our life. We don’t have to be thin; rich; perfect; etc….to make a difference in someone’s life…..but getting our own “ducks in a row”; eliminating the negativity and unhealthy habits in our life; and allowing God to transform our hearts and minds to be more like Him….will make it much easier to be a light to others because when we feel good about ourselves, in control of our lives, and have a grateful, peaceful spirit, we naturally want to share that with others. 

Those “acts of kindness” yesterday turned my day around and inspired me to do look for opportunities to do the same. Today….as I go about my daily grind…..I ask God to open my eyes, first to recognize the many ways HE sends encouragement and reveals His presence to me, and then, to help me recognize opportunities to show someone a bit of ‘no big deal kindness” and to inspire, heal, love, and/or help someone in need. A smile costs nothing….but can make all the difference in the world….and it doesn’t have ANYTHING whatsoever to do with the number on the scale!!!   

I encourage you today to continue to focus on your journey; continue to work towards those goals that you have identified; continue to try make good choices that will change your life…….but also….to look for opportunities to make a positive difference for someone else. You might think, ‘It’s no big deal” but very likely……it is!  What can you do today……to make someone smile?  

 I hope you have a really good day today!