A couple of years ago, my hubby and I saw The Bucket List in the theatres. I loved it of course. I was so moved by it, that I printed out a paper where I had written “Have you found joy? Have you brought joy to others?”
Nothing fancy, but I still have it on my bathroom mirror. I look at it every day. I think about ways I can bring joy to others. It is something we work on with our kids too.
Let me tell you about bringing joy to others for a minute.
You may have noticed that I’ve been absent from this blog for a little bit. I have been crazy busy getting ready for a trip to CO for my 4 year old to see some specialists. We just got back from a week of poking and prodding and tests and stuff with some amazing medical people. Seriously, a week long of this. We were delighted that we got to stay at a Ronald McDonald House while we were in Colorado.
(Ronald covered in snow…we were delighted to get to experience snow while we were away from home! Our son thought this was particularly funny to see snow on Ronald’s face. Kids are so cute like that.)
We were one of the families that was lucky enough to have our son with us and not staying in the hospital during our stay. We met some amazing people and got to learn about why they were staying in the house. I was so touched with their stories. Several evenings, people volunteered to bring in dinner for the house.
Let me tell you about one day in particular. First, remember we are from Arizona. We were far from our friends and families, our kitchen and the comforts of our home. We flew in to see specialists about our son with EE in hopes of finding a new path for him. He had an endoscopy with biopsies one day. The procedure went well as it always does for him, thankfully. The procedure pretty much took much of the day and much of our energy too. Even though it went well, it is still emotionally exhausting. It is tough to see your child put under and know that he is in pain when he wakes up. He is our little trooper because he takes it all in stride. He was a little cranky waking up and then about an hour later, went into meltdown mode from the pain, the medicine and the whole day. We went back to the Ronald McDonald House. There was a group of people that had brought in dinner. It was wonderful! The house does offer a nice big kitchen and dining area. There is a play area tucked in next to the kitchen so that you can prepare food and know your little one is close by. My husband and I were both exhausted from the events of the day. We were so thankful to have a meal already prepared for us. I sat at my dinner and cried. I was overcome with gratitude for the dinner and the people taking time out of their lives to give to me, my son and my family as well as the other families staying there. Actually the three nights that dinner was brought in, I cried at my meal. Not only did the meals fill my belly, it filled my heart in a way that is so hard for me to write. It was a very humbling experience to have needs so great and to have them met by the generosity of others.
The Ronald McDonald House is such a great idea! We were able to go to testing, procedures and Doctor appointments during the day. Then we came home to a place where our son could play if he felt up to it. There was a real kitchen, two actually. There were games and movies and TV rooms where you could unwind. Being able to go home to that, instead of going back to a stark hotel room, without access to anything but a shower and TV was incredible for us. It isn’t just about the amenities, but also what the house offers to fill the souls and hearts of the families staying there. It is a feeling of overwhelming gratitude that it gave me.
I have a feeling, that many people that get the opportunity to stay at a Ronald McDonald House will volunteer for one themselves. I know we will. We were so touched by this wonderful experience. Our first meal that was brought, the family had been touched by their experience at a Ronald McDonald House in PA just weeks earlier.
I’m wondering if you have found joy? Have you brought joy to others?
This is totally a service project worth doing with your friends and families. Bringing a meal to families whose children are undergoing medical treatment, at least 50 miles from their home. It is a way to touch families lives. This is an experience that will stay with us forever. It filled our hearts with more than just joy. It is something you too can do. I am suggesting you think about giving to the Ronald McDonald house. There are many ways you can volunteer. We were thrilled to have an assortment of toys for our son to play with. We were happy that we had a kitchen, fridge and place to make our meals. We were beyond touched when people brought in food for the house. Think about it. Maybe you have a church group, a Bunco group, some tight neighbors or even your family that this would make a great service project for.
On a side note, we have a new path for our son. We are extremely hopeful and so thankful for the opportunity to see the specialists we did. This year (yesterday) there WAS a birthday cake for him! We just had an epi-pen close by;)