I want to tell you about my friend, Judy Ferguson, from New Jersey....and how meeting her, knowing her and having her in my life has taught me about the nature of blessings. This is a picture of us in Central Park in NYC a few weeks ago, then a photo of she and Bev...who I'm going to tell you about.
Last year, my life was completely upside down and in a blender...every single day was a terribly frightening challenge and my heart was in pieces all over the place. I never thought that I would feel right or happy again.
Most of this had to do with my husband's brain injury, and all of life's cruelties that were attached to it. It had been nearly a year since his accident, and every time I turned around, another part of my life was falling apart....everything felt so completely out of my control. You have to understand the kind of husband that he is...I had never even pumped gas before his accident...he completely took care of me in every way. THe bad part of all of this was that I had no idea how to live without him.
I have a strong faith in God, but I felt absolutely forsaken by Him. I used to get on my knees in tears, at least once a day, usually in my closet, and tell Him that taking my husband from me was the meanest thing He could ever do to me...and I meant it.
Then I learned the nature of blessings.....how we have to take them as they come, and understand that the gift of understanding them is sometimes a long time coming. That when we ask to be blessed, we usually have the 'best way' in mind....we usually think that we know what is best for us and so we ask for it. When the blessings come in a different package...sometimes we see them, sometimes we don't.
One of the horrid things that happened last year was that we had an enormous promotion at my company, Chatterbox, with some awesome new products....they were these amazing trunks that you could use as luggage or for scrapbooking, whatever. We sold a kajillion of them but we also promised a certain ship date....the manufacturer that we were working with ended up being not-so-forthcoming....and the whole thing was a months-late embarrassing disaster. I have always made integrity the #1 value when doing business.
Well, Judy Ferguson was one of our customers. (www.bestkeptmemories.com) and she emailed me one day to ask me about our pink trunks, that she wanted to use them for Breast Cancer Awareness Day, for a fundraiser....as a cancer survivor, she has taken her tragedy and repurposed it into a blessing to others. She was one of my customers who helped comfort me during the trunk episode....and helped me put it in perspective....and even forgave us when they didn't come in when they were supposed to....even though her customers were waiting and waiting.
We started emailing back and forth and before I knew it...I had found a kindred spirit and friend.
Well, I am not sure exactly how it happened....or when......or even the events that lead to it.....but I ended up telling her of the heartbreak that filled my days....of the hopelessness I felt when it came to helping my husband...of the way that none of the doctors were helping and that no one understood anything about brain injury...that they were treating it symptom by symptom, but not really helping....his depression had turned suicidal....his moods were the shape of the sawtooth mountains, his personality had been replaced completely by a really different person. He had spent most of the last 9 months in bed, in an enormous amount of comfortless pain....physical and emotional.....and he was losing hope as much as I was.
Then Judy said....
"you need to meet Bev, she rehabilitates people with brain injury."
What? What? WHAT????? Let me call her.........
20 minutes later I was on the phone with Bev, also from New Jersey.....an angel on earth, just like Judy....and she told me frame by frame, before I could even tell her, exactly what was happening in my life.....I can not TELL YOU how much this meant to me....to just know that someone KNEW the hell and torment that we were dealing with. We stayed on the phone for over an hour.....she listened to my sobs and even made out a few of my words in between them.....then she got on the computer and on the phone and found a rehabilitation hospital.....only 20 minutes away....that none of our doctors had even mentioned. Then she said to me...."you can do this." and, for the first time months, I finally believed that I could.
We started going to rehab just about a year ago.... Between everything else that was going on with the company, my compassionate employees took things over as I drove him and stayed with him for his 2-4 hours of therapy every day. It was grueling and exhausting....but, at least we were making progress and were with people who knew how to help.
After that incredible night on the phone with Judy and Bev....we kept in close contact.....they changed my life....really, they saved our life, and our marriage....in so many ways. It was incredible that after that night on the phone, we realized that I had a trip to NY planned in less than a month...so we all planned to meet together in NYC.
Another bout of sobbing....they met me at my hotel and we ate in the restaurant....exchanged gifts and hugs and stories....and they just listened with such compassionate eyes and I felt like I'd known them forever and they'd loved me for even longer. It was a miracle for me that healed so many parts of my heart.
For the last year, we stay in very close contact. They are like Aunts to me....they love me and I love them, and they provided things for me that only they could...I hope that I do a little bit of the same for them.
Sooooo.....just a few weeks ago, one year later......we met in NYC again. It was a completely different kind of day. We spent the day together.....ate together, walked through central park....saw Jennifer Aniston....
And, they told me how different I was. I was not scared. I was full of confidence. I was wise. I radiated.
So........there's a big story about blessings here.
1. WHO KNEW that I'd have to wait 9 months before someone from ACROSS THE COUNTRY would be put in my life to tell me about JUST the place we needed, which was minutes away from my house?
2. WHO KNEW that I'd have to lose my husband for a while to find myself?
3. WHO KNEW that I could ask and ask and ask for confidence, lack of fear, wisdom and intuition, and that it would take a horrible tragedy in my life to give it to me?
4. WHO KNEW that 2 women who are not my age, not from my neck of the woods, not anything that would have brought us together otherwise....would end up blessing my life in such a profound way?
God did....and that's how blessings work.
What is one of your unexpected blessings?
Make it a Meaningful Sunday.....and tell someone how much they've blessed your life. I'm going to go email Judy and Bev Right now.
Hugs to all of you!