This morning, I opened my garage door with the goal of getting the garbage cans out to the curb, but one of my neighbors had already rolled them into place for me. Maybe it was the stress-exhaustion speaking (because, even though you don't really do much when you are helping someone with his medical needs, energy-wise, other than spooning ice chips and the occasional but very-appreciated Jello and carrying on semi-lucid conversations which sometimes make you giggle, it's thoroughly exhausting), but seeing the cans already on the curb made me a little bit weepy. There is just something so comforting in un-asked-for service. And I don't use that word, comfort, lightly. It comes when people call, just to offer help, or when others are patient with me because I've not made as many update phone calls as I should have. Friends and neighbors who've helped with Kaleb or brought dinner. Meals that would be delicious nevertheless, but made more savory with their spice of charity.
It is good to be reminded that we are not alone. It is good to be comforted with kindness.
Nearly six weeks ago, when Kendell found out about his heart troubles, one of his first questions was "why me?" I cannot answer that question for him. As I tried to make him feel better, I tried not to ask that question of myself: why my husband? Instead, I am trying to focus on the blessings, like the fact that we discovered it just in time. (The surgeon told us that his heart was in much more trouble than he ever expected, and if we'd have waited much longer it would have been too late.), and the feeling that accompanies that fact which keeps building in me, that there is something more for Kendell to do with his life, and the heart thing is something, for some reason, he needed to experience in order to do it. The blessing of health insurance, and coworkers who've covered our work. The great surgeon we found.
What I continue to learn is that when you are the wife, you get to piggyback on both your husband's troubles and on the associated blessings. The garbage cans at the curb reminded me of the power inherent in simple kindness. Too often, I don't help enough because I don't have the time for the Big Gesture. I remembered this morning that the small things mean just as much. Because it is not so much the type of kindness that is offered but the offering itself, and the way it fills you up with knowing that, no matter what, there will be others who will love you.