Tuesday, July 12, 2011, is a day that many Shreveporters (including Yours Truly) will remember for quite some time. We were on about day 20 of a string of days over 100 degrees. Add to that the infamous humidity of Louisiana, and you have some miserable folks! However, as long as there was air conditioning, we were in good shape! That all changed around 2:30pm when 8900 electrical customers suddenly lost power—cool air and all! At around 10:30pm that night, that number had grown to 17,000 hot, sweaty, cranky customers. We were all pondering the possible reasons for this problem: there had been no storm, no lightning, no thunder. Hmmm! What could have possibly caused such havoc in the electrical system? We found out the next day that, much to our surprise, one small, shiny mylar balloon had come into contact with some power lines. Imagine that—one little, bitty balloon having such an unbelievable impact on so many people’s lives.
At that time, I was already working on a blog about the many opportunities that we are given to impact someone else’s life for the good. Sometimes, we forego that opportunity, thinking that the one little, bitty thing that we might do would never amount to much. I think that we underestimate what God can do with the little that we give Him: we give him our little effort, and He produces something similar to a mylar balloon that can impact many—but in a good way!
(This is a continuation of my last blog which was entitled
“People Who, Unknowingly, Made My Day.”)
Anyone who has had chemo or ever had to go for cancer lab work (especially if using a port) knows that you dress for comfort and so that the port can be easily accessed. You really don’t worry a lot about how you look, especially if you know you’re going to be there for several hours. My uniform for chemo days was a knit-like fabric—a jogging suit—stretchy, in other words. Since my port is up near my right collar bone, I had one particular kind of shirt that I always wore (which just happened to be white), and I usually wore the same white scarf on my bald head because it was easy. It didn’t require a lot of effort which was another requirement for what I wore. Kristy, one of our daughters, had commented a time or two (or twelve!) that I needed to wear a scarf with some color in it to give my face some “life” because, obviously, there was no hair there to add any color. Honestly, having a colorful face was way down my list of priorities at the time.
One day when Earl and I were out and about, a very kind lady made my day by commenting on my looks. He and I had gone to the cancer center for an in-between-treatments check-up. It was one of those rare days when not only was I feeling somewhat close to human, but we had gotten into and out of the lab as well as my oncologist’s office in a timely manner.
As we were leaving the clinic, I asked if we could go to Julie Anne’s for lunch, and since I hadn’t felt like going anywhere (especially to eat!) in months, Earl was thrilled. Julie Anne’s is one of my favorite places to eat—a small bakery with wonderful food. Chemo often leaves a metallic taste in the mouth which makes eating not very interesting; I usually ate only because I knew I had to to stay out of the hospital. That day, even with the metallic taste, Julie Anne’s Turkey Walnut Wrap had never tasted better; I think it was just the idea that I felt sort of normal.
After we ate, we got up to leave, and at the small table behind me was an older woman (older than me; not old). She was a classy looking lady, not flashy or gaudy but very well put-together—had a sweet, beautiful smile. As I stood for Earl to push my chair under the table, I glanced her way, and we made eye contact. She said, “Honey, you look beautiful in white. Not many people can pull that off.” I was so shocked that it took me a few seconds to realize what she had said, but I thanked her. I also told her, laughingly, about Kristy’s prompting me to wear color, and I assured that kind woman that I would share her comment with Kristy.
That woman had no idea how good she made me feel that day. But, then again—maybe she did. Maybe she had been in my shoes at one time and remembered what it felt like. Whatever her reason for speaking to me, God bless her for having the wisdom and the courage to say just the right thing to me and absolutely make my day.
When I was going through chemo treatments, my sister, who lives in Texas, made arrangements with my local florist for me to receive fresh flowers every Thursday around noon. This was to go on for the duration of chemo, so I always had fresh flowers—often, two arrangements if the arrangement from the previous week was still healthy. What a neat thing—something to look forward to every week!
The person who usually made the deliveries was a man, probably around my age or a little older. He was very kind and always took a few minutes to chat, asking how I was doing, etc. Since I almost never wore a scarf when I was home, he knew from day one what my bald head looked like. One Thursday, it was a cool day, so I was wearing a scarf. The doorbell rang; I went to answer it, and there stood my favorite delivery man with my flowers. We did our usual little chit-chat, and he started to leave, but he turned back around to face me before he stepped off the porch and said, “By the way, you look much better without that scarf.” What a precious thing to say! I don’t know what made him say that, but needless to say, he made my day!
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but life can be tough sometimes! Just getting up and dealing with another day can be a huge challenge for folks going through a valley of some kind. Maybe you know someone who is dealing with financial issues, family problems, lack of employment, a devastating illness or maybe it’s just a smaller, temporary problem like dealing with a cranky co-worker or locking her keys in her car. No matter what the case, we all have people around us daily who need us to take a few minutes to check on them, call them, send them a card, share a smile. If we all did that consistently every day, can you imagine the impact that we would have? We could be like that one, little bitty mylar balloon that impacts many lives---but in a good way!