Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gratitude Debt

With Christmas around the corner, we feel like we are living in a state of never ending Thanksgiving. Even after the good news we have heard, well wishes and prayers continue to stream in. And we don't deserve it. Both Tiffany and I have had conversations, the most recent one just a few hours ago after another angelic angel arrived at our door, concerning the blessing of good friends, good neighbors, and a wonderful family.

We honestly don't deserve what people have done and continue to do for us. We feel indebted for what everybody has done for us.

I started a list tracking everything that everyone has done for us. This list has been expanding and bulging over the last month, and I fear I have lost count of some of the acts of kindness and service people have done on our behalf. Not because of ingratitude, but because I honestly don't have room to receive it. There have been many days, today being one of them, that there are so many people calling and stopping by that I can't keep up with everybody who stops by or calls. I can't. I have work to do.

We have tried the best we can to keep up with thank you cards and notes and given the proper gratitude we can. Please accept my apologies if you have not received a thank you. We are no doubt behind and will hopefully send one your way. We are thankful for everything and words cannot express our heart felt gratitude.

Today, we had a friend from our ward stop by bearing gifts equal to the best gifts anybody has ever received. She is a photographer and does marvelous work. We have seen some of her pictures before and are amazed at the beautiful prints she creates.

Two days before Tiffany was to have surgery, she came to our home with the intent to take pictures of the family as we went about doing family things. Well, bless her heart, we were in such a daze that day. Dallin woke up and Tiffany thought she found lice in his hair. So after church (we left him home - didn't want to give this to any one else at church) she and another good friend gave him the look over and couldn't tell if there was lice or not, but opted to treat him anyway (we now think it was just a scare, no lice was ever found and nothing ever came of it). Shortly thereafter, others came to the door, sharing with us their love and concern for Tiffany. Add to that the phone calls and the family clamouring for attention, we really weren't ready for pictures. She came by and we asked for some more time to prepare. She was so gracious as she left, after we had taken up some of her precious time, and said she would be back in an hour or so and we could do it then.

We rushed around and got ourselves ready. We did a pretty good job considering we have 6 people to try to get the right clothes on, hair done, shoes on, hair done again, and out the door. The day was was foggy and having an idea where she wanted to take the pictures, it was bound to be a sweet photo shoot.

She came, we went on location, she took some photos, we mused, she took more pictures, and then a few more. She brought props; a couple of chairs. One she had used in other pictures I had seen her take, and after discussing with her, one of her favorite finds. It was an older style Victorian padded chair - of which I may be off in my description, but hopefully that gives you an idea. We took a few pictures with it, and opted to move on down the path with her other prop, another chair, and old school desk chair - made for the size of young grade schoolers, and left this first chair behind.

As we came back, I was looking for the first chair to grab it and put it back in the car. But to all of our dismay, it was gone. Somebody had thieved it. To this day, I am peeved. Here she was, giving of her time and talents in blessing the life of someone else, and her chair was stolen. Money will not buy back that chair. It was a special and unique chair. I have vowed to keep my eyes open for one that might replace it. Please do the same for those that know what it looks like. I will gladly pay what we need to replace it as best as we can.

Well, perhaps one might say that sacrifice brings blessings. With the chair being sacrificed, the gift she was to give became that much greater. To which we are ever so grateful. Today, she came with her daughter holding at least a dozen pictures of various sizes and layouts.

All of them are favorites. She did a marvelous job. Then came the kicker, she pulled out a 16X20 of Tiffany and I, and all around the canvas were signatures and names of individuals and families who had donated and assisted in making this gift happen. (She did say some individuals who had helped were unable to sign - and we invite them to come and sign it when they get a chance.)

Emotions were high. Tears were shed. Some were held back. We don't feel like we deserve the goodness that has been given us. We don't.

She did give me release to print additional copies for personal use, but to ensure I don't over step her artistic rights and protect the gift she has given, I will ask her (have yet to do so) for permission to post some of them on this blog. They are as wonderful a gift we could ever receive.

Thank you to all who are soo kind. So giving, so generous. Please stop. We honestly don't have room to receive all the kindness that are being tossed our way. We look forward to paying off this debt as we find ways to give back that which we have received.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest
appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
~John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

Nathan

4 comments:

  1. I had to keep going back and reading this post, for the tears streaming down my face was making it hard to read.
    This was so beautifuly written, like a book.

    You and Tiffany have no idea, seriously NO idea how much you have effected me thorugh this process....what a pure blessing. HF surely leads angels in our paths when we need them the most....
    you have brought Joy and faith to our ward.
    My mom gave us daughters a saying to put in our homes. It reads "Don't be afraid to be amazing"
    and thats truly what you guys are!
    keep up the good work....Life is yummy!
    xoxo
    Annie

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  2. OH, and P.S----

    OF course you can post those pictures... :)

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  3. It is always harder to be on the receiving end of service. ALWAYS. Don't stress the small stuff...and thank you notes are small stuff. You will get your chance to serve someone else down the road and pay it forward. I think that is one of the coolest things about wards, neighbors, and friends. We will all have our time of need, and we will all have our chance to give. No one is keeping track.

    Can't wait to see more pics. Annie does AWESOME work!

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  4. Seems to me like a humbling experience of feeling like an "unprofitable servant" through the ongoing service of mortal angels. And it is that service that blesses many beyond your family this season. Two facts to learn to be at peace with then: none of us will ever be able to keep up with expressing the gratitude we actually feel for Father's blessings through good people, and (2) such service blesses your family and SO many others and likely will not stop. It's not about deserving it. I suppose it's about humility in the giving and receiving that helps all feel a little more heaven on earth. Thanks for all you and your sweetie do and are amigo! A blessing for our family to be sure!!!

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