Monday, October 15, 2012

Hero Series: Post #4

Today Cory came home from ward choir practice and told me that they were singing one of my favorite songs, "Each Life that Touches Ours For Good". I love this song because I feel SO INCREDIBLY blessed and grateful for the opportunity I have had to live in so many places where so many people have touched my life and left me a better person. One of those people is a lady named Carolyn. I have actually written about her before on my blog. I was her visiting teacher for a little under a year. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love this woman, or how much my children love her. When I first started visiting teaching her I felt a little nervous because I wasn't sure how she was going to feel about me brining two little ones into her home each month. Well, my nerves were quickly pushed away as she openly embraced them and got so excited to have little children in her home once again. Carolyn is full of life and love. She has gone through some very hard and lonely times as she lost her husband and son to cancer. Her daughter and her grandchildren live over seas. As I learned more and more about her, I realized how important it was for me to be a faithful visiting teacher because she needed me. She needed someone to check in on her every week. She needed someone close by that she knew she could count on. She needed someone to frequently wrap their arms around her and tell her that they loved her. But the funny thing is that the longer I knew her the more I realized that it was actually me that needed her. She taught me so many things. Here are a few.....1. She taught me to enjoy my children. She would always be so patient, loving, and kind to my children. My older girls LOVED to go visit her. I swear that every time I went over there she had something for me to take home to my girls. She loved them. She would frequently remind me to treasure them and enjoy each day with them. 2. She taught me to value what may seem invaluable. Having a big family means that you are constantly trying to get rid of stuff and clean out the clutter that seems to continually build. I have become very picky about the things that I let my girls have/or keep because it just means one more thing that I'm going to have to clean up/wash/or try and get rid of without them noticing. One day when we were visiting, the girls were commenting on some decorative straw hats that Carolyn had hanging on her wall. She immediately took them off her wall, dusted them off, and told them to take them home and play dress up with them (she supplied MANY dress-up items to my girls). I tried to talk my girls out of taking them but she (and they) insisted. So I gave in. As I was packing up to move to Texas, I almost threw those hats away, but there was just something in me that couldn't do it. As I was putting away the dress up stuff the other week, I pulled out those hats and felt so grateful that I hadn't thrown them out, because they remind me of her. I shed a tear or two as I gently placed them back in the dress-up bin and thanked my Heavenly Father for those old straw hats that will always remind me of my dear sweet friend. 3. She taught me about charity. Carolyn would often hear of things on the news or on commercials that she would call and tell me about, things that she thought I would be interested in. One day she called me and told me of a big consignment sell on the other side of town that had all sorts of children's clothing. I really did not need any clothing, or anything else for that matter, but she was so excited to tell me about it and I thought it would be fun to take her with me, so I told her that I'd love for her to go with me. So we did. It is one of my favorite memories with her. I have lived far away from all of my grandmas my whole life. But riding in the car with her that day and going shopping together, made me feel like I was with my grandma. I was loving every minute. She helped me sort through all sorts of clothes. Honestly, I thought she was going to pick stuff out for her own grandchildren but I soon realized that she was entirely there for me. She has such an eye for fashion and she found some BEAUTIFUL dresses for my girls that are still my very favorites. When I went to the cashier to check out, I knew that there was no way I could afford to buy all the items that I had picked up. I told her that I was going to sort through them and just choose my very favorites. But, she quickly turned to the cashier and told her to just add them all up so I could see the total. I told her there was no need for that and we went back and forth about it for some time (she is quite a stubborn little lady). Finally, I decided to just let her have her way but there was no way I was going to buy them all. After all the clothes were wrung up, she then told the cashier to also add in the double stroller that she knew I had my eye on at the front of the store. Again, I told the cashier that there was no need for that because I would not be buying it, but again, she insisted. Well, to make a long drawn out argument short, she ended up paying for $100 worth of the $130 total. I couldn't believe it. She was SO STUBBORN and she just kept insisting. The cashier just laughed and said, "dear, that's what grandmas are for." I then explained to her that she wasn't even my grandma. She was my friend. The entire way home, I tried to take Carolyn out for lunch and continue to thank her and tell her that she shouldn't have done that, but all she would do was smile. I felt so horrible as I drove home because I felt so badly about her spending so much money. But, I'm pretty sure that to her the money was not important. What was important was that on that rainy cold day, she had taught a young mother what it meant to have charity. You can't put a price or value to that kind of love. Every time I pull out that double stroller (almost every day), I think of her and smile. I think of how much it meant to me and then I think of how much it must have meant to her. 4. About a month before we moved, I got a new visiting teaching companion. At the time, her husband was not a member of the church. As she explained this on our visit, Carolyn got very serious and somber and she told her of her late husband who was also not a member of the church. She told my companion about the decision she had made to stop going to church because of how hard it was to go alone. She got very emotional as she told us that it was the biggest regret of her life. She then went on to bear testimony and express concern and love to my companion. It was such a sweet moment. Another time, I brought Alison with me to visit Carolyn. Again, she spent her time offering sympathy, concern, and love for her. Carolyn has a heart of gold and she has a very special gift and ability to offer comfort and love in the most incredible and touching way. I love Carolyn so very much. Just last week, I found out that her cancer has returned. She has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and her time is running very short. I don't think there is anyway that she could possibly know how much she means to me and my family. We all love her. We pray for her in every one of our prayers every single day. I will forever be grateful for her example and influence on me and my children. I don't think I will ever be able to get rid of those old straw hats. In my girls dress-up bin, they have many costumes. Most of them are princess costumes others are ballerina, cheerleader, or fairies. But, none of them are as beautiful on my girls as the ones that were given by my friend Carolyn, the woman who taught me how to love.

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