Sunday, 30 March 2014

The True Miracle

Painting Day went well yesterday. I had expected about 8 or 10 people to show up. We ended up with a dozen. I made food for about a dozen so that went well. You might think with that many people in the apartment we would be getting in each other's way; I was the only person who really got in the way, and was politely reminded on several occasions to remove myself. The day was almost without disaster; Brad cut his finger quite badly while cooking dinner. We looked after him and he is going to get it looked at by the doctor today.

Things went really well with the work too, with people deciding what they would do or taking guidance from others about what to do. For some it was their first experience with this kind of thing; some had never really done any painting, many had no experience with gyproc fill or wood fill, while others had a full set of tools and a lifetime of experience. We all worked together, everyone contributed, and we accomplished much. It was the best kind of day. I even got to help, painting doors and doing a bit of touch up here and there.

It was a comment by one of my friends that really got me to thinking about all of this last night. When I said how much I appreciated her help, she said she "really hadn't done much" and "hadn't been very successful" at what she did. I have to help her understand that it is not the work, nor the quality, that makes the difference. It is the mere act of being here, of participating, of enriching my life and the lives of others where we really make a difference. Had she painted only one brush stroke, filled and sanded only one flaw in a wall or baseboard, had she simply passed tools and paint or food and drink, she would have been immensely helpful in the day. She went far beyond that, yet saw her contribution in the limited scope of what she did instead of who she was and the value of her real contribution.

I have come to learn that the value of the people around me is not in what they do, but in the mere act of showing up. Being there is the most important thing anyone can do for me in this time of my life. I do not see myself as needy, but I know that I need these people in my life, flawed and imperfect as we all are. I need them, not for what they can do, but for who they are. The gift they give me is not just the contribution of labour; it is the sound of their laughter, their words of encouragement, their touch on my shoulder. That people who were once strangers, once distant, have become so close to me; this is the true miracle.

To give of self is the truest gift of all, the most successful thing to give.

No comments:

Post a Comment