Do you ever have one of those moments when you stop, look around you, and think..."Wow. I never thought this is where I would be"?
I had one of those today.
Sitting beside a young girl I barely know, at a table shoved in the crowded corner of the back room of a retail clothing store, snarfing down a room temperature egg roll and trying desperately to ignore my throbbing feet, I looked around and thought exactly that.
Change is a funny thing. Most things are funny with our family, so why not? But, honestly, if I hadn't been scared that I might spew egg roll bits on my new acquaintance, I would have laughed out loud. I remembered the day after Thanksgiving last year. This was not where I thought I would be a year later. But divorce+recession+teacher hiring freeze=Roaring Mom working retail on Black Friday.
I'm not complaining. I'm grateful to have a job. And my girls immediately loved the idea that I was working at the mall. Apparently, it's much higher on the Cool Mom scale than middle school substitute. Go figure! Still, it's not where I thought I'd be. Then I realized, I'm not alone. There are many, many others who aren't where they thought they'd be.
Which leads me to this update...
On July 7, I posted a blog entitled Saying Something. It was about a family I know whose dad had suffered a spinal cord injury. I know that last year at Thanksgiving, they never imagined they'd be where they are now.
I've followed the updates of the Carl Hall family on Facebook. And because my daughter is friends with one of the kids, I get to hear tidbits from her every now and then, too. Carl Hall is now home. He's back with his family in a new home that can accommodate his needs for the time being. I'm not going to presume to know or understand or even guess what all has changed for this family. But I can tell you one thing that has stayed blessedly the same in spite of all that has changed--their spirit.
My daughter Sophie has seen that spirit in Megan's gracious smile and bubbly laugh and the joy that sparkles in her eyes when she talks about her dad. That spirit is evident in the many update postings that detail Carl's drive and determination. That spirit overflows in the sharing of a simple kiss between Carl and Stacey, as seen on a local news story. That spirit is most obvious in the overwhelming outpouring of love and support of hundreds of friends and community members who have been touched by the Hall family over and over again.
I haven't taken an actual count, but other than well-wishes, I think the one comment I've seen more than others it how Carl and Stacey have faced this change with the same optimism and grace they have always had. They are the same good, kind people. Although this accident changed almost everything, it couldn't touch the essence of what everyone loves most about this family.
I've been thinking this Thanksgiving week that change is not only a funny thing, but a good thing as well. We all experience those times that we wish could last forever. But if we never move or grow or change, think of the hearts that might not have been filled, the minds that might not have been opened, the souls that might not have been touched. I'm realizing that it is in the least expected events that we are able to inspire others. It's in the unforeseen tragedies when only our character remains, that we make our mark. It is in those moments we have never imagined that our true nature sustains us and we are able to transcend who we thought we were--who we thought we would be--and just be. And it is in being that we experience love in its truest, purest form.
I'm sharing with you a link to a local news story about Carl and Stacey. I hope you take the time to watch it. It will inspire you. Then, please, say a prayer for them. Then remember to be grateful for change, even if it comes in the form of Black Friday egg rolls. Then, take a moment and just be...