April 10, 2011

I want to be bold

One day I was scrubbing in at the NICU and James' doctor spotted me and approached.  She reported that James was not doing well and when I asked why she said it was because of the brain trauma.  It was not the news I wanted to hear.  She left and I went back to my washing, trying not to break down in the very public NICU entrance.

I was not doing a very good job.  My eyes were filled with tears, my chin was quivering, I was biting my lip, and I was choking back sobs.

And then a woman approached me.  A concierge at the hospital, she must have watched the exchange from across the room.  She came with a box of tissues and a sincere look of compassion and concern on her face.  She put her arm around my back, placing her free hand on my shoulder and she asked if I was okay.  Did I just get some bad news?  Was there anything she could do?  She expressed her sympathy and told me she would pray for me and my son.  She took my hand and squeezed it and we parted ways - she went back to her desk and I went to James' bedside.

It was a warm, tender moment and I still carry it in my heart.  I know the woman is a Christian and I believe she was loving me as she would Christ.  If I was Jesus to her, she was Veronica to me.

More recently I was checking out at the grocery store.  James was crying which was making Ben fuss and L worry.  I was feeling completely frazzled when a woman approached me.  "May I hold your son and comfort him?" she asked, seeing I was busy with paying and keeping my eye on my other two children.  With my permission she scooped him up and soothed him. 

"I will walk you to your car," she told me. She told me she had raised 5 children, all closely spaced, and so she knew how hard it could be at times.  She held James and then buckled him in as I got L and B in their car seats and loaded my groceries.  She told me how blessed I was and then went back to the store to do her shopping.  There was no judgement about my inability to keep my cool while my kids fussed, let alone keep them happy in the first place.  She didn't judge how closely they were spaced or ask if we were done having kids. 

She just served me.  Like Simon the Cyrene, she bore my cross for a moment.

These two women spent no more than five minutes with me but what they did really mattered. I felt alone and scared and overwhelmed by my immediate situation when those women intervened in my life. 

I want to be more like these women.  I want to be bold.  I want to love and serve the people I encounter in ways that are real and meaningful.  I want to take the opportunities that are before me to actually live out my love of Christ.
Most of my days I am surrounded by 3 little kids and so I may not be able to do something similar to what these women did.  My hands are pretty full, so I might not be able to carry something for you.  (But I might!)  I actually have an idea of something I'd like to do - to be more intentional about - so that I can keep Christ always before me and reach out to people in need so they don't feel as overwhelmed or alone.

But first I'd love to hear from you!  What are your thoughts?  Do you have examples of people being bold and intentional in the way they have lived out their faith in their every day lives?   How might God be calling you to love and serve Him in the people you encounter? 


  1. Those are some really beautiful stories. I know I've probably told you about the time I hit someone's bumper in the Wendy's drive-thru, and instead of pulling over so we could assess damage and exchange insurance info, they drove away. And when I got to the window they had paid for my order and told me to have a good day. I think that's my only story that ranks with yours. Although I could be forgetting something. I have a terrible memory.
    One way you could spin this would be to try to serve your own three small people in such a bold way. I think it's fair to focus on your own family right now (though, of course, you could/should help someone else if the opportunity presented itself). Then when you get a little older, like it seems these women were, you can turn your efforts out toward the world around you. Just my thoughts...

  2. Bonnie, I love your blog. :)

    I have a 5 year old daughter, a son who is almost 2 1/2, and a daughter who is almost 1. I get the "are you done" and the "your hands are full" comments ALL THE TIME, so I know what you feel like. I too wish I could serve others in the ways those wonderful women served you, but usually I'm too busy with the kids to do so.

    I think aside from occasional opportunities to be like those women, I just have to try to be the best example of joy that I can. I pray for people I see because sometimes that's all I can do. I hope someday I can be bold like those ladies....for now I'll have to serve in less bold and obvious ways.

  3. This made me tear up! What a sweet blessing both of these women were in your life.....I'm just so happy for you that they found you in a time of need and were able to ease your burden a bit.

    I wish I could remember a specific time like this in my own life, but none are coming to mind. The closest thing I can come up with was a couple of months ago. I was in line at a grocery store when the lady in front of me was emptying out her purse and wallet looking for a little bit of change that she was short for her bill. I gave her the coins she needed, to which she looked relieved, smiled and said thanks! I was happy to help her out in little way when she was rushed and slightly embarrassed to be short of money.

    I'll keep your stories and these in mind and more actively look for ways to help people out in the future. Thanks for the great post!

  4. I would like to be more bold, too. But first I have to be more humble to handle it when people decline my help. I've tried to intervene with mothers on various occasions--in ways that I would appreciate help, etc--and sometimes it was successful and sometimes it seemed to be unwelcome. However, I think it is important to ask for help. Once there was a young boy running for the street/big hill while at the park. His mother was calling his name and since he was about 18 months he was unresponsive. I was closer to him than she was so I just scooped him up and brought him to his mother. She seemed more annoyed than relieved. And I admit that I've let that experience dictate future lack of response. It does come back to pride. I always have to overcome my pride to be more bold. I will pray for an increase of charity in this area for you and for myself.

  5. What a beautifully put post - especially in how it relates to the Way of the Cross this Lenten season. Thank you!

  6. I always let fear get in my way of helping. I'm the oldest of 8 - my 6 youngest siblings are all under 9 - and I know how much my mom appreciates it when someone graciously offers help. It always seems to me like moms of small(er) families get more annoyed than moms of larger ones, but I don't know why. All moms need an extra pair of hands every now and then! So anyways, I always let fear get in my way - I don't take rejection well, I'm afraid that some moms might think I'm some weird child-predator (which in this day and age isn't a far-fetched fear). I want to be bold too. I'll pray for you and for me in this area!

  7. I want to comment on this post, but first I want to bring back to you your food containers that you brought to me (while you served me with a nice dinner!!) Can you email me?


  8. Loved this post! It made me think of that FRIENDS episode where Joey and Phoebe are trying to figure out if there is such thing as a selfless deed.

    It can be discouraging when kind actions go unnoticed, like when you hold a door open for someone and they fly past you without even looking at you let alone saying thank you!!

    But like your examples, the smallest interactions can have the biggest effect! Since I'm home most of the time I try to set examples through my children and how I care for them and my husband... and if I'm out then it's letting someone go ahead of me in the check out line that has fewer items or just smile.

  9. I want to be bold as well.

    As a matter of fact, I was having a very similar thought last week.

    Since I go to the school mass twice a week, I get the opportunity to hear the same gospel and homily twice. At first I thought this is silly. I'm hearing the same thing twice, but I realized that it has given me something to reflect and think about all week. It also gives me an opportunity for the scripture to strike me in different ways and for the Holy Spirit to work on me. So last week as the gospel was read(Tuesday's gospel), something different struck me.

    The homily had been about the man's mat and how that mat became a sign of God's love. But what I thought about was how the man lay there sick for 38 years. When Jesus spoke to him this is what he said to Jesus, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.”

    I can picture a scene in my head. One in which this poor, ill man is just trying to get to the pool while everyone else is rushing ahead worrying only about themselves and the concerns of their day. I wondered if anyone had ever noticed him before. I wondered how many times he'd been tripped over. I wondered why no one stopped to help him get to the pool. But Jesus noticed. Jesus cared. Jesus stopped. Jesus healed on the Sabbath. Jesus was bold.

    And then I wondered how often I've tripped over the poor, lonely, forgotten, hurting, broken people of this world too busy to stop; worrying only about what I need.

    Have I noticed? Have I stopped? Have I cared? Have I been bold?

  10. Hi Bonnie Travis, Lydia, Bennet and James too:

    Happy Easter to each of you. I have some pictures to send to you from my "bold experience" in Australia during World Youth Day in 2008! There are many reasons they have not been mailed but that is besides the point. I am at my parents now in Florida. Flew down quickly yesterday as my father is ill and I need to help my folks get back to Milwaukee where they need to be. I am relaxing at the computer now and I periodically go to your blog and read posts. I find it very uplifting and enjoyable, besides informative on the progress of James.
    Anyway, I was so thrilled to be in Sydney by sure chance in 2008 during World Youth day. My boldness entailed going up to and greeting as many people as I could. We met Christians from 28 countries and have pictures of many of our encounters. Rather than keep you in suspense, I have been seeing you reference "The Sisters of Life." It will be amazing to them and to you when you see the pictures, when I finally send them to you. I actually contacted the Sisters when I was visiting my brother but they were away on retreat so I could not get together with them again. Anyway, I will get the pictures in the mail to you soon when I return home later this week. Please keep Maddie in your prayers, she will be confirmed on May 12. Love prayers and many thoughts always. Eileen, and "Gregg, Maddie and Daniel in spirit."

    Okay well maybe the above story wasn't the bold you were looking for, but the kids thought I was bold, and then enjoyed every minute meeting people from all over the world right along with me.