Monday, December 15, 2008

The days Jesus came to visit!

It has been a really hard two months.  The pain gets worse and better with no particular pattern.  Wednesday when I saw the Neurologist, I was in pretty good shape.  By Friday, the pain was so bad we thought about going to the hospital for the pain medicine.  Today, it's under control.  But this post isn't about me, it's about all the love that has been shown to us by family, friends, and strangers.  This will be a very long post.

Our lot has four really big silver maple trees.  That means a lot of leaves come down late in the fall.  The day after Thanksgiving, Jesus came in the form of 8 men from the Men's Club at church who came over and raked all the leaves up and mowed the lawn.  These are folks who I might have met twice at the two meetings I went to, so I barely know them.  But when the president of the Men's Club saw me limping through church one day, he stopped me and asked if there was anything they could do to help.  And so they spent a couple of hours cleaning the gutters.  Thank you!

A few days before Thanksgiving, Jesus came in the form of St. Gerald parishioners unexpectedly delivering a box of food.  I am still working,  we can afford food, and we put money into the poor box at church to help those less fortunate.  We've both worked in food pantries and met some people who need food a lot more than we do, so this gift was challenging to accept.  We wondered if our situation was really bad enough to warrant a food box, and contemplated bringing it all back to church the next week.  But as we looked at the boxes sitting in our hall for a few days, we realized that it was more than a gift of food.  It was a gift of support, fellowship, and solidarity.  It was really nice for the next few weeks to be able to grab some soup or cereal and say a prayer for the family that donated it.  This was a gift of real generosity to Susan, who has a lot on her plate right now.  The easy to prepare meals have been a blessing.  Thank you!

Last week, Jesus came as a group of Susan's friends who delivered a card that included a variety of gift cards.  Again we were overwhelmed with gratitude and emotion.  I am still working, and for now, the paychecks are still coming.  But this gift has been an offset to the extra expenses we've encountered lately.  I take a train to work, and the walk at the other end is 9/10ths of a mile.  I can't walk that far, so I take a $6 cab ride each way, when I do go into work, and this gift has helped to offset those expenses.  And even though we've reached our out of pocket maximum on the insurance, there are still parking fees, drugs, acupuncture, and copays.  Thank you!

I've had a lot of visits, tests, and followups with "ologist's" during in the last two months.  Jesus regularly comes in the form of Susan's mom or sister watching Karen so that Susan can accompany me through this journey.  And has Karen has grown, Lori has kept a steady stream of hand-me-downs coming!  It has been helpful to have Susan with me at all the appointments.  Thank you!

Right before this all started, we did demolition on a room upstairs to add insulation.  When I was in no condition to finish the job, Jesus came in the form of Susan's dad who came and helped Susan build the wall.  Our house is much warmer this winter.  He's also helped with a lot of odd jobs around the house that I normally do.  Thank you!

The early days of going back to work were a bit of a challenge.  And I was always able to ask my friend Bill Murphy for a ride.  He normally takes a train also, but has been more than willing to drive when I feel like I need it.  Also, he drove me to work the day I went in for a 2.5 hour MRI.  Our plan was for Susan to come and pick me up when it was done, but at the last minute he surprised us and offered to stick around in the waiting room.  Thank you!

And then, Jesus came again last night when the Church delivered some Christmas gifts for Karen and our family.  Again, we are humbled by the generosity of so many.  It still feels a little wierd to have been chosen for this, but it also feels wonderful to receive so much love from a parish which we only joined in August 2007.  We really appreciate the Church reminding us that is how it is with Jesus too--you give a little and get so much in return.  Thank you!

Susan has been amazing.  Our baby is due March 1, so she's getting bigger every day!  In the last two months, she's been so wonderful in her loving care and concern.  Normally, I do do some work in the kitchen, and with her being so far along in the pregnancy, I should be doing more, but she keeps cooking great meals as well as holding my arm to help me walk when I need, driving me to doctor's appointments, and let's not forget building a wall for insulation.  More importantly, she prays with me, talks with me, and loves me.  I do not envy the pain I know she feels.  At least I can point to my pain and say "this hurts here."  Her pain is that of watching the one you love ride a roller coaster of good days and bad days.  I pray that I never have to feel that pain, but if I do, that I will support her as much as she has supported me.  Thank you Susan!

Jesus comes to us in many different ways.  This experience has been humbling, and has opened our eyes to a whole different perspective of Church.  We just asked for some help with leaves, and they have seen that we are having a hard time and are helping in whatever ways they think of.  All of us, every day, have the opportunity to give to help those less fortunate, and that is definitely a spiritual gift which we have some control over.  Having been helped so much in so many ways and by so many people this past month, I can tell you that it is also a spiritual gift to be on the receiving side of unexpected help.  We would never ask for hardship upon you, but we do pray that, at some point during your life, you have an experience like ours, where friends, family, and Church come together to show you how much God loves you.  Thank you!


Sean said...

Wow, Matt... I'm sorry to hear about this. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. Please keep me updated.

Sean Williams

Matt Jones said...

Thanks Sean!

Good to hear from you, and I appreciate the thoughts!