This past weekend, Jim and I came up to visit my mom and take her to a special family event. We were excited to see her – and to help my sister, who usually is the one to care for her. Mom is nearing her 97th birthday and is doing quite well, but she isn’t physically able to do as much for herself, and her memory isn’t what it once was. Getting her to the party was challenging and difficult at times. Those of you who have cared for elderly parents, small children, or others with special needs will understand what an undertaking this can be. There were moments when I felt frustrated and discouraged.
My mom thoroughly enjoyed the evening; she received lots of love and attention as family and friends doted on her and delighted in her. Jim and I were happy to give her this shining moment in the spotlight! And yet, we knew that she would remember very little of the party (or the effort involved to get her there) when morning came. A few times I felt a bit of self-pity, when I wondered if our time and energy spent “behind the scenes” would even be noticed, let alone remembered.
But when I went to say goodbye, my mom took my face in her hands, pulled me close, gazed into my eyes, and said, “I just want to have one more look at you.” Her piercing eyes conveyed a determination to not forget me or that moment; they reflected a deep and fierce love. Jim and I were emotional as we wondered if she felt something more in her goodbye.
Suddenly the difficulties of the day became both negligible and worthwhile.
Today I am thinking of all the good helpers who may be reading this now. The people who enable others to have their shining moments even if they are unaware or ungrateful. The people who may never be recognized, appreciated, or remembered, and yet continue to love and serve in the backgrounds of life. The people who keep quietly putting their unique goodness into the world in a variety of ways through ordinary days, while never making headlines or achieving recognition for their work.
Because today, I am also thinking about how God sees us. God sees all of the things we have quietly done, all of the things we assume have gone unnoticed, all of the ways we have tried to make a better difference. God sees all of the goodness we bring into the world, even if no one else does.
When you are feeling unrewarded, unappreciated, or unnoticed, God of Infinite Love is tenderly touching your face, gazing into your eyes, and saying, “I see you. I am thankful for you. I will not forget your efforts. I love you.”
May you keep pouring your goodness – through your unique gifts and graces – into the world. May you never lose sight of the good you are doing because God has not lost sight of you. May you know that God is grateful each time you share love and make this world a little more bearable.
And I am, too.
Photo by Karen, Swan Creek Metropark, Toledo, 2016