31 Days of Thanks – Community

Twenty-four donuts, a bunch of middle schoolers, one talented 20 yr old leader, some parents, hot chocolate, a pile of coal and a whole bunch of wood.

That is how my day started.

The kids showed up in twos and threes. Once they all arrived, the leader got them organized and all that youthful energy became focused. The job was to move the wood from the side yard and stack it by my basement door. They were like a swarm of locusts. And then I blinked, and this is what I saw:

Wood Pile 10192013

 These are very talented little wood stackers!

A little over a year ago, Mike found a “good deal” on coal. We have a coal stove in the basement that we use to heat the house with in the winter. The price Mike found was so good that he had a ton delivered. It is stored in our makeshift coal bin in the  side yard. (The wood was stacked around this bin before the kids got to it)


The kids were ready for their next task. They were set to work with shovels and buckets. Once again, the swarm started and when I blinked, this is what I saw:


I am amazed at the work that was done in a short period of time. This group knows how to get things done!


They are part of our church body at Groton Bible Chapel. I am so fortunate to be part of a community who truly cares for one another. And they do it with joy.

And that is not all. This afternoon a friend of mine came and helped me clean off our porch. We put away the plants, the fig trees, and the furniture. We cleaned a bit of the garage to make room for everything and then swept the leaves off the porch. But they came back…

Now it looks like this:

Side porch

Front porch

My friend is part of our church family too. She also teaches pilates and does amazing therapeutic work with people.  She makes a great cup of tea and is a wonderful listener. I am blessed to have her as part of my community. She brings me joy and gives me a safe place to be myself. Even when my world is turned upside down and I don’t finish my sentences.

I was just reading through my file of “comfort” and came across this little segment written by Emily Freeman:

Don’t insist your encouragement should come from a particular person or group of people. Be open to receiving God however (and through whomever) he may want to show himself.

Sometimes it’s good to let them see you sweat even when it feels awkward. Fear seems to grow in the darkness of isolation. But when you expose it in the light of community, it tends to lose power. Sharing my fear is often the path that leads to courage.

One of the biggest lessons I learned through Mike’s illness and even into grief is the importance of allowing myself to be vulnerable and open to others. It is a constant. CONSTANT battle. I want to be independent, to know what my future holds, to be fully confident and self sufficient. ALL the time.


I will be brutally honest. Today, I felt a bit anxious about having people I don’t know well come to the house and move my stuff around and see my piles and messes and disorganized garage. And so I told God that I don’t like being in this position. I don’t want to have to depend on others to help me do the things that Mike used to do. I want him here so he can do them. And as I was having this conversation, the middle schoolers started arriving. I couldn’t send them away.  So I allowed myself to be vulnerable. And then I had peace. I enjoyed meeting new people and the projects got done that I would not have been able to accomplish on my own. Today I learned, yet again, that the God of “all comfort” cannot give me healing and help if I am not willing to get a bit uncomfortable and give others (including Him) the opportunity to care. It is a hard lesson to learn but the blessings are truly wonderful.

And for this, I am thankful.


6 thoughts on “31 Days of Thanks – Community

  1. Becky M says:

    Wow. I’m thankful for how well you are cared for!

  2. Debbie Collins says:

    Another beautiful post. I have noticed in the people around me, the ones that are most giving often have a difficult time being on the other end of the giving. Being vulnerable isn’t easy. Thanks for reminding me, that being vulnerable and open is how we grow.

  3. Peggy McGowan says:

    A great day! Glad you let them do this work to help you….GOOD for you!! Good for them too! GREAT kids!

  4. Susan Ennis says:

    Hi Patty, I have worked daily with middle school students for 31 years and yet, they never cease to amaze me with what they can accomplish! So glad that you had the support needed to finish the tasks of moving the wood and coal.
    All the best to you!! I will be in CT in mid-November for a conference, by the way. May God continue to bless you and your journey.

  5. Laurie Buckley says:

    This is good.

  6. Beth (Betsy) Sagar says:

    Love that you have the help. Great post Patty! xoxo

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