• The smallest of kindnesses really do matter

    Date: 2012.12.30 | Category: Grace | Tags:

    As many of you know, my daughter Gracie has a Facebook page that a friend set up for her back when she was first diagnosed with lupus.  Gracie was going to have to be on chemo and there was a good possibility that she would lose her hair.  Dani thought it would be fun to have friend’s donate hats for Gracie – thus, the Facebook page entitled “Hats for Gracie”.  She never did lose all her hair. Although, when it started to fall out she opted to cut it off and donate it rather than just lose it.   From the generosity of others, Gracie has been able to take hats to the University of Iowa Hospitals.  She has sent hats to the Jessie Joy Rees Foundation.  She has sent hats to friends that have been diagnosed with cancer.  For a girl who is as compassionate and emphatic as Gracie is, it has been great fun to spread the joy to others.  Plus, now she has the chance to start making hats for children in orphanages in China.  Dani’s idea to encourage a little girl has led to others being encouraged.  It has allowed Gracie a way to take something bad that happened and turn into something good.  Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

    Gracie has been through a lot this past year.  She has stage 4/5 systemic lupus erythematosus.    You can read more here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systemic_lupus_erythematosus   Most people hear the diagnosis, Lupus, and they don’t think much about it. They hear about flares and remission but it doesn’t really make an impact unless they know someone who has been diagnosed.  For Gracie it means not being able to be in the sun for any extended period of time because this might cause another episode.  It means lots of sunscreen for something as simple as going outside to go to a store.  It means being completely covered by clothing all the time.  Not a big deal unless you are an extremely warm-blooded child like Gracie is.   It means taking cellcept (an oral chemo drug) for 5 years.  It means daily steroid use and other medications.  It means lots of doctors appointments and tests and blood draws.  60 years ago her diagnosis was a death sentence.  Today she stands a good chance of a long life and we know how blessed we are.

    I’m writing this not because of what Gracie is going through but because through it all complete strangers have signed up to “LIKE” her Facebook page.  People she doesn’t know have commented and said prayers.  She loves that people are praying for her.  It really does lift her spirits.  She gets so tickled when Dani posts something and people respond.  Just yesterday Dani asked if we could get to 350 likes and this morning we are at 385.  It amazes me that strangers would take the time to do that. It also shows me how the little things we do really matter.  That smile you give someone in the store – it matters.  When you take someone lunch or donate $5 to their cause – it matters.  When you compliment someone on how they look, what they are wearing, or how they are behaving – it matters.  When you take a moment to wish someone well or send a card saying that you are thinking about them – it matters. Don’t ever forget that.  You may not hear a thank you, but it truly does matter!

    We don’t hear these stories in the news because they are small little instances and don’t really sell papers or magazines.  Can you imagine if the headlines read “Grandma, 82, ecstatic because 200 people wished her a happy birthday. She feels cared for and like life had meaning again!”   It would be nice but it’s not likely to happen.

    Gracie’s headline from yesterday would read something like “Little girl was ecstatic Saturday because 53 random strangers took a moment to hit a button and let her know that she was cared about!”   You have no idea how much that means to her.   She really is a brave little girl who doesn’t complain about taking medicine every day and night or sitting through hours of infusions or getting poked for lab draws or having to sit through way too many different doctor appointments.  She is a compassionate little girl who has a faith that is unbelievable.  Thank you for brightening her day!   THANK YOU!