We Have Nothing But Everything to Give

{I am part of a special holiday Blog Carnival hosted on Blog Nosh Magazine. This post was sponsored by Tide Loads of Hope*.}

Ten Year Old Tonka Truck

A long time ago, before I was pregnant with Benjamin, when I was the new mother of two babies (my Irish Twins, if you will), we fell on hard days.  We were living, in Buffalo, in my parents’ garage apartment.  They fed us, they housed us, they helped us, and we were ever grateful.  We were a young family and times were tough.  Accepting help was necessary if not debilitating.   When you are at a low, in a deep, dark valley, you think you’ll never soar again.

That’s where faith comes in.

One blustery day in December I was home alone with Mikey and Livey.  I was just getting them down for nap, when the doorbell rang.  Who dare ring my doorbell just as my babies’ heavy eyes were about to buy me an hour or two of quiet?  I stomped down the stairs with a vengeance.  Whomever stood outside my door should have been standing there fearful of their life.  But, no one was there.  Only a box.  A big huge box addressed to: Mishi Lane

I muscled the massive package up the stairs and into the kitchen.  Curiosity triumphed and instead of going back to the work at hand–getting those babies to sleep–I grabbed a knife and cut my way into it.   I began to pull out various gifts for both of the children.  Then at  the bottom was the big gift, the Tonka Truck, with the card attached.   As I read the card, I felt the lump in my throat grow as tears welled up in my eyes.

That’s where faith lifts you up.

The big, huge box with the big, huge, metal Tonka Truck was from an online friend.   Someone who cared enough to send gifts to my small children for the upcoming holiday, even if they wouldn’t remember or know (I would, though.) Someone who showed me that the act of giving is actually the gift of receiving, because–ultimately–her act of kindness allowed her to receive something within her heart—something that transcended the physical act of giving.

I have been a recipient of these acts of kindness many times.  More so, I have been witness to much greater acts of kindness.  I’ve known wives who lost their husbands, children who lost their fathers, daughters and sons who were taken too soon, babies that struggled to live (some of whom made it through and others who became full-fledged angels), families that lost everything they had in fires or disasters, people that have suffered immensely, and the list goes on and on.  The kindness that I speak of, though?  It’s the kindness of man that presents itself so readily when tragedy strikes.

That’s where faith resides.

When I got online in 1994 I had no idea the impact it would have on my life.  I met my soul-mate online.  I shared pregnancies online.  I lived through highs and lows with my friends online.   I have made life long, meaningful relationships online.  And it keeps getting better.   I flip open my laptop and  know that there are people that I can turn to.  For support.  For comfort. For friendship.  For laughter.  For community.  For understanding.

The line has been so blurred that I feel strange saying that they are solely online friendships.  They are more than that.  And they are just as meaningful and fulfilling as any other relationship I have forged in my thirty-five years.

That’s where faith grows.

Last week, we were sitting around the kitchen table,  having a family discussion.   Mikey felt that Benny was rude in wanting to accept a neighbor friend’s offering of dry cereal and left-over Halloween candy (their army-guy “dry rations”).  Mikey conveyed that whenever he has offered his friend something, anything, he refuses to accept it, and says in so many words, “I can’t take that from you.”

I paused him.

Maybe his parents told him not to accept anything because Papa’s not working?

He agreed.

Then I went on to say to that often times the ones who have the least are willing to give the most.   That we should be giving.   For the act of giving is just as meaningful–if not more–than the act of receiving.   When you give you open your heart up.  A friend taught me that.

Just then, I looked out the window and spotted the ten year old Tonka truck underneath our trampoline.

We share our food with friends.   We give ten dollars in hopes that someone we barely know might not lose their home.  We buy a tee-shirt to support a fallen friend.   We display buttons to show support.  We talk about important causes to our friends and family.  We tell stories.   We take pictures. We do all we can.  We give.  We receive.

That’s faith, hope, and love.

————————————————————————————-

*Loads of Hope for the Holidays
{How do the holidays fill you with loads of hope?}

Please join us at Blog Nosh Magazine as we share stories of hope this holiday season in support of the Tide Loads of Hope program, a mobile laundromat offering laundry services to families affected by disasters.

Share your own stories of hope, along with Blog Nosh Magazine, Velveteen Mind, and a gathering of inspiring bloggers, and enter your own post link in the blog carnival below.  Visit Blog Nosh Magazine to explore featured bloggers as well as three featured posts selected from carnival participants listed in the linky (that could be you!).

Lend your voices now, then participate live during a two day event in New Orleans, Sunday and Monday, December 13 and 14, as we tweet stories of resilience from laundry recipients and volunteers on the ground.  Follow along on twitter via #loadsofhope and be sure to follow @TideLoadsofHope.

So, that being said, this weekend I will be in my most favorite city in the whole United States of America, New Orleans, with Tide Loads of Hope. I’m joining Megan of Velveteen Mind and Deb of Deb on the Rocks as we spread some hope to those that are still feeling the affects of Hurricane Katrina.  Giving the simple gift of clean clothes and receiving fulfillment that I suspect will last a lifetime.

Learn more about how you can extend hope to families affected by disasters by visiting http://tideloadsofhope.com

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17 Responses to “We Have Nothing But Everything to Give”
  1. 12.10.2009

    Oh…Mishi…you nailed it.

    Yours is a beautiful story…and anchored in faith; how it enters, buoys you, resides with you, and grows within and without? Treasure, yes?

    I’m so excited that you’ll be part of the ground team this weekend; I KNOW with your artistic eye…and story telling soul you will represent the people in New Orleans well…. And most exciting? YOUR faith will grow as a result. I can’t wait to see how!

    xo

  2. What a lovely post. I know you will do great things in New Orleans this weekend. I understand why you can’t be at Help-Portrait with me Saturday! :-)

  3. 12.10.2009

    Sometimes the joy does come in the receiving, opening ourselves to the generosity of others, especially when we need it the most.

  4. 12.10.2009

    That’s the same way I approach it and to tell the truth, the same way I think about it — often those who have the least and have known need can be the most generous. It means so much, on both ends. I love how you made the point that every little bit matters. Sometimes people think it has to be SO HUGE. But I find that so many givers realize it can be a little daily thing. A nice note. A few dollars. Even an old pair of eyeglasses. Fantastic post!

  5. 12.10.2009

    Sometimes, we forget that receiving is a blessing to the ones that give. It’s not about us and our need. It’s about them heading the call to Love Your Neighbor. Awesome.

  6. 12.10.2009

    So much heart and faith you have, so lovely. I can’t wait to give you a hug!

  7. 12.11.2009

    This was beautiful.

  8. 12.11.2009

    OK, so you made me cry. Again. You know what I remember about that garage apartment? That here was a warm, loving friend whom I had never actually met in person, but was willing to open her home for a fun playtime/meet-and-greet session. I felt the love, baby. You have an impact on everyone you meet, and I hope you have a life-changing experience this weekend.

  9. I read, I sigh, , I nod my head, I cry, I send a quick prayer heavenward for a my friendship with you…who I met online. A friend who shares so much in common with me. You are a dear sweet soul…and I am thankful for you.

  10. Beautiful post! When my husband does something for someone and doesn’t want to be paid in any way, he tells them, “Don’t steal my blessing.” And isn’t that the truth? When we can’t graciously receive a gift, we are robbing the giver of the opportunity to bless another.

    Wishing you a very blessed time in New Orleans! :D

  11. Jana
    12.14.2009

    AMAZINGLY said!

  12. 12.14.2009

    Ahh, sweet girl, I love this post. Yes, it’s contagious, isn’t it? Sometimes I think Pay it Forward-ing happens more subconsciously than it does consciously. I think when we’ve been filled with this kind of grace and hope, we can’t help but try to pass it on in everything we do.

    I’m so glad to know you, hon. xo

  13. 12.14.2009

    Gorgeous, gorgeous post. I have to tell you I felt a little starstruck to see your comment on my Loads of Hope post first thing this morning. Your writing and your photos (your photos!!) are incredible! Secret Agent Mama has a new home away from home in my Google Reader, that’s for darn sure.

  14. I know I’m late in coming to this, but I had to comment because this post really moved me. I followed what you were all doing in New Orleans via twitter and now photos/posts, and all of the stories have been blowing me away.

    Thank you for sharing.

  15. 12.31.2009

    “When you are at a low, in a deep, dark valley, you think you’ll never soar again”

    This is very much how I feel today. Thank you reminding me it will pass. x

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post... This post was mentioned on Twitter by j_wag: ... ubervu.com/conversations/secretagentmama.com/blog/2009/12/10/we-have-nothing-but-everything-to-give
  1. [...] week, my friends Megan, Deb and Mishelle are heading down to New Orleans to assist the Tide Loads of Hop... livelaughlove95.wordpress.com/2009/12/12/hope-is-powerful

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