A few months ago, I introduced my good friend and former roommate, Natalie, here at Growing Butterfly. She really could start her own blog if she wanted to *nudge nudge* but in the meantime, I am always honoured to share her deep and precious thoughts here.
Our community in Prince George has faced some turmoil this week, and this is Natalie’s response. (I also find it timely that my last post relied heavily on the theme of Community.) Thanks for reading.
It’s been a tough week.
On Sunday night, I got a phone call from one of my best friends who recently moved away. The news she gave me was something I never would have expected.
One of her good friends (and her husband’s best friend of the past few years) passed away earlier that day, suddenly and without warning. She had wanted to let me know before I found out some other way.
In that moment, I was at a loss for words, as I felt my heart instantly ache and grieve not only for my two friends had known him so well, but for his wife and all of the lives he had touched in our community. It was a heavy blow, one that I wasn’t certain how to handle.
I did my best to comfort my friend – to tell her that I was there if she needed anything, and that I would be praying.
But I was still left with the question,
“What should I do?”
The next day, I was at work, surrounded by customers and fellow employees who had no idea what I was going through. I tried my best to just make it through the day while still thinking, praying and grieving over this sense of loss. I thought that I was doing okay until halfway through the day, when I got a text from another friend, telling me that her mom was in the hospital, going in for emergency surgery, asking for prayer.
Just when I thought my heart couldn’t take any more, I was almost brought to my knees as I prayed and hoped fervently that everything would be okay, that another one of my friends wouldn’t have to face another loss. And once again, as I tried to cope with what was happening, I was left wondering,
“What do I do now?”
In these moments, I believe that the hardest thing for me has been to know how to react. Having a protective personality, one of my first instincts is to rush to the side of whoever is in need or hurting, but then my doubt always hesitates and wonders,
“What if they don’t need me? What would I even do when I got to them? What would I say? Are words even enough?”
In a way, not knowing what to do has eaten me up inside, threatening to break my heart all throughout this week.
And then I was at work again, stewing with all of these feelings. I tried to grasp onto the good things around me, tried not to let my own thoughts defeat me. Working in retail, it can be hard enough to help people and serve them well on a good day – and in the past few days, it’s taken all I have to remain positive and not just start throwing shoes at people’s heads. (Sometimes, it just feels like they deserve it!) I think it’s safe to say that I will not getting Employee of the Month.
But after dealing with a few customers, I came back to help an older woman with her two granddaughters. They’d returned from earlier in the day to pick up some shoes and find another pair for the youngest girl.
Now this girl was, by no means, a sweet angel, but I found that her excitement to try on shoes was so contagious that I couldn’t help but smile. After I brought out the pair she wanted, she was so determined to shove her little feet into those shoes as quickly as possible that she didn’t even bother to sit down.
As she inevitably began to lose her balance, it was in that moment that I chose to make a fast decision and I quickly put out my hand for her to hold onto.
Now, normally, I make it a bit of a rule not to get too close to children that I don’t really know, and I would never admit to being a touchy-feely person. But as that little girl grabbed onto my hand, I felt instant relief in the fact that I knew she trusted me, that she knew she was going to be okay.
In that split second of a moment, when everything had seemed so uncertain and confusing, that simple fact was enough for me.
If there’s anything I’ve learned (or re-learned) from this week, it is that I need to be like that little girl and just trust. Trust that I know how to do the right thing, trust that other people will let me be there for them, trust that even when I hurry so much to put on my save-the-day shoes that I lose my balance – God and the people in my community are going to be there for me too. Above all, trust that everything will be okay.
It’s not always easy, and I know that sometimes I may have to risk exposing my heart to all kinds of unpleasant things, but I know now that for all the times I might reach out empty-handed…
…the second that someone chooses to take my hand and trust me is the only moment that matters.