Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Have you brought joy to others? Let’s talk about service projects worth doing.

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 McDonald in snow
(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;)



Unknown said...

I don't know what to say this touched my heart so much, I was crying while I read it (Yeah I'm sappy).
I don't think I've done anything special I've volunteered for several different organisation. I do put other people before myself. Get that from my Dad neighbours were and are always turning up at my parents house asking for assistance with something even though he has Parkinson's he never refuses to help anyone. He is a tremendous inspiration to me and I'm very proud of him.

All the best with your little one. xx

Em said...

Thank you for bringing attention to the RMHs! I'm glad they were a place of solace for you & that your son has a new plan.

My parents & brother were vacationing in CA when he became critically ill and had to spend several weeks in the hospital recovering. My parents stayed at the RMH the entire time, and have never forgotten the kindness they experienced there, even though it has been 25+ years. We donate there regularly out of gratitude. I have also been on the other side as a children's hospital employee and have seen how much relief parents have at being able to stay across the street from their child during treatment rather than having to drain their savings for hotel rooms for weeks or drive hours home each night.

Valerie said...

Great post! I'm glad that you found some answers for your child, but I know the week was difficult. I just recently heard of a group taking dinners to a Ronald McDonald house in another state. I had never heard that you could do that. Unfortunately, the closest one to me is more than an hour away, but I will check at the hospital that is closer and see if they have something similar. Thanks for sharing your feelings and for presenting an opportunity to serve.

Kitschalicious said...

What a touching story! Although I have never had to go through anything with my own kids, I have always donated to the RMH, even before I had kids myself. I believe every child is so precious and deserves so much more! Thanks for sharing your story.

Katinka said...

Stopping by from SITS and wishing you a great wednesday!!!

LollyChops said...

I loved reading about your experience with the Ronald McDonald house. What an amazing place!

I am definitely going to have to look into finding ways to bring joy to someone's life.

Thanks for the touching story and inspiration to us all!

ezeldabeth said...

the smallest things really do make such a difference in situations like that...i'm so happy for a new direction for you son:)

Unknown said...

Thanks for your comment...the timing was perfect. I have been considering serving breakfast in a local Ronald McDonald house and you've made my decision much easier. I'm so happy that you and your family had a positive experience! Folks at our church volunteer each Sat. morning at the Ronald McDonald House locally and I have an idea that my Sat. mornings will be fuller and more "joyful!" Thanks, Wanda