During the recent weeks and up to the actual move, there were dozens of people lined up waiting to help my family. It was unreal, and when it’s not such a fresh, sore spot, I plan on writing about moving day and all it entailed- if for no other reason that I need a record of what happened. One evening, a woman I love and adore was leaving Little House after she and her husband had worked here all day, and as she was getting into her car, she hollered “Now don’t you dare send out thank-you cards for this. This is family!” Then she drove off. I know better than to disobey her… but my compulsion to thank is strong, and so…
This last Sunday, with the permission of my Relief Society presidency, I handed out this abridged letter to my ward:
One thing Mormons do better than just about anyone is to circle the wagons. We prepare, we practice, we take classes, we bring casseroles, and heaven knows, we store our wheat. I’ve watched with fascination over the years, as my membership in the church has mellowed from naïve fledgling to active, endowed member. I’ve participated and learned as my friends make a mighty effort to practice what they preach.
Recently, I have found myself in the unenviable position of needing that charity we are so famous for. For a long time, I was the convert everyone checked on and showered with love- but the bloom is long off that rose. And yet- in the middle of this horrible trial, when I cannot see what is coming, and cannot yet sort out the wreckage behind me, I look through the dust to see a circle around me.
The wagons have been circled, and I and my children are safely in the middle of that tight, loving, organized, closely bound company of Saints.
I don’t know what lies outside the circle. And the thing is- I am learning I don’t always have to know. There are people willing to help fight that battle for me. This stuns me. I stand in the middle of the circle, and am awed by the resources and love marshaled on my behalf. Can I really warm myself by the fire of my friend while someone else helps find my cows and serves my children dinner? Not only can I, but I am told I am blessing others if I allow myself to be so served.
At first I was dubious. It’s far more comfortable to give to others than it is to receive. And, the last thing I want is to ever expect anyone to do things for me I am perfectly capable of doing myself. And yet the circle tightens. The love increases…
A home teacher or a bishop stops by to give me a blessing. Another sister is driving by and felt compelled to stop and take my kids. My son is baptized, and on 24 hours notice the room is overflowing with friends from multiple wards. People I show up with hot meals and treats for my children. Sisters roll up their sleeves and bring their cardboard boxes to pack my house. Brothers take my sons under their wings and nurture them in ways I cannot. Dozens of hands lift at once, and the load is lighter for everyone. It is an embarrassment of riches, were I to try and catalog it.
My heart is humbled. Of one thing I am certain; there is no earthly way for me to ever repay the people who have circled around me, who have given me shelter in the storm, who have loved me and my children and preformed miracles as the hands of my Savior. Indeed, no repayment is humanly possible.
Miracles happen. They happen as normal, everyday people reach out to others in their hour of need, and allow the Lord to work through their hands. Hands that wipe the brow, sop the tears, hold the weeping and grieving, and hands that guide the traces of the wagons into that tight, loving, safe circle. Those hands are working miracles. Those hands are the hands of Christ.
With love and gratitude for each and every one of you.
To a large extent, this same letter can be applied to the readers of Dandelion. I cannot describe the gratitude I feel for the prayers, letters, packages, emails and personal expressions of love and support so very many of you have directed my way. My community- both here at Little House and here at Dandelion- have truly carried me through the most treacherous of times, and done so with such grace and love that I am left speechless.