Hello all, it's C.J. Schneider here. Today I'd like to introduce you all to my dear friend Virginia Oviatt. Virginia is a woman of many talents. She competes in triathlons, she cooks, she manages twin babies, she sews flowers onto headbands, she fights lions with her bare hands...you get the picture. She blogs at: https://missconginnyality.wordpress.com/.
Because We're All in This Together. Everyday. - by Virginia Oviatt
The parable of the Good Samaritan gets me every time. I see myself so clearly- not in the the man left for dead (although somedays I may look it), not in the thieves who robbed and beat him (at least I try to not be that person). I am not even in the Priest or the Levite who avoid and ignore the hurt man. No, I am a character untold in the story but I am in there just the same. I am the Martha, busy with to her own children, so tired she cannot see straight, fighting to get the laundry done, struggling to make sure there is fruit in the house, rushing to an appointment or lesson 10 minutes late. I am the one in the story who doesn't cross to the other side of the road. I, taking care of my own little brood, arms over flowing with babies, listening to the constant chatter of my little girl, trying to watch the never ending slap stick of my 8 year old, wanting to but never quite finding enough ways to support and cheer on my hubs, I cross in the same place as the man. Failing to see him with my cognizant eyes, I take my daughter's hand to help her step over him and we trudge forward on our journey.
Last week I attempted my first large solo grocery trip with my 5 month old twins in tow. With one strapped to my back and the other snuggled in on my front, I had 2 hands free to load and push a very full cart. As I made my way through the store, the responses I got from other shoppers ranged from smiles, the woman cheering me on, whispering she can tell I'm doing an amazing job. There were countless strangers repeating the same tired phrase- "you've sure got your hands full" and the one man who went out of his way to ask "what would you do if you had 3?!?!" But I was doing well with just my two. As I got to check out and just as I began to doubt, wondering how I would lift all my groceries out of the cart, bag and lift them back in again with my sweet babies clearly acting as obstructions, the customer service women left their station. Without asking what I needed said "we see you've got your hands full, let us unload and pack your groceries for you."
Later they helped me out to the van while I bounced and shooshed my little boys. In a store not generally noted for its customer service, They saw me and they knew what they could do.
From the drivers seat of my vehicle I called out how proud I was of the three of us. We did it! But without the help of these thoughtful women, I'm not sure I would have felt the same. They made the difference from it being a trip we just squeaked through to an experience of success I can look back to in those moments when motherhood successes seem far and out of reach.
I have a dear friend who recently threw her back out; On a Wednesday.
Wednesday night she bought the groceries we would need to make freezer meals.
Thursday morning she stood in my kitchen with her sore back chopping onions and filling bags. That afternoon she took my older two kids sledding.
Friday she came to visit and stopping in later to return something, noticed I was on my way out the door. I was late, trying to furiously get babies into snow suits so we could pick up my little girl from kindergarten. Her offer to stay to help meant that I didn't need to pack babies with me and could enjoy some 1:1 time with my sweet Lady.
Friday night with my husband away, she picked up the same daughter from a dance class and watched her until for me so I'd have less running around with my two monkeys.
Monday, back still hurting, she came to pick up my older kids for an hour of physical activity after school.
Like me, This sweet friend has laundry, the need for fruit in her house. She has her own kids and her own projects. Though her back was hurting so she could hardly stand straight, she didn't cross on the other side of the road. She saw me and she knew exactly what She could do to help. 4 days out of 6 she checked in with me, included me in her day, served me, let me know she saw me and was there.
At our Relief Society March 17 party, the question was posed "who is an example to you of One who possesses Christlike attributes?" I thought of my friend. I like to think I'm a person who enjoys giving service. I generally try to be kind and if I'm told what needs to be done, I'm your girl. But she has shown me what Brene Brown meant when she said "compassion is not a virtue- it's a commitment. It's not something we have or don't have. It's something we practice."
She has shown me what it means to practice constant watchcare. To be a Shepard, not just to the lost and lonely but to one of the 99 who just needs a boost, a little extra help to make sure she doesn't get too tired, too overwhelmed, too crazy. Like the ladies at Superstore, she allowed me to feel like more than just getting by, to feel I am handling my life with a little grace.
And so I'm committing to practice. To have my eyes open. To see and to do. Because the real challenge of the Good Samaritan is not in serving those you despise in the rare occasion you find them with a flat tire. It's in seeking and seeing opportunities to chip in, to lighten the load of others. It's in making kindness a part of everything; what we do; who we are; everyday.
Because we're all in this together. Everyday.
- Virginia Oviatt