To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Eccl. 3:1 (NKJV)
Do you ever feel like you are “good.” Or wonderful? Or special? Like you do so many things (especially on a volunteer basis) for so many people and organizations that no one could keep up with you if they tried? Do you ever pat yourself on the back for all the things you accomplish that you know ten five other people could not do as well or half as fast? Do you ever secretly (yes, secretly–sometimes it is a secret even to yourself) feel like you are a little above most of the rest of the pack due to how much you take on, and accomplish?
Well, Reader, I feel all of those things sometimes. In all my life I have made diligent effort to not praise myself, but inside I know how “good” I am. I do not mean “sweet” or “angelic.” I am not those things. (I laugh, hideously, when people say, “You’re so sweet.”) But I am good at most things I decide to do. Most of the time, better than good. I know a lot of you know what I am talking about because you are the same type of people. (In fact, by some of your comments in previous posts, I wish my readers lived close to me because then I know I would not be so busy!) And when one is like this, like I am, people respond positively all. of. the. time. I am not going to list all the things I (and my family) do that bring us praise, but I will say that almost wherever we go where there is interaction with other people, we are lauded and praised for a myriad of things ranging from my cooking to the behavior of our children. When people praise you all of the time, it has to somehow go to your head. Even if you are the “humble” type (which I believe I am), all the accolades add up, and it is easy to start feeling pretty good about yourself.
Then add blogging. I know there are trolls out there, but I have not had any. Likely because most of my posts are for the most part benign, but people are just NICE in their comments to me. YOU are nice to me! Last week my SkyWatch post had over 100 comments and all were glowing and complimentary. Now I am wise enough to realize that most people are not going to say something unkind in that situation, but still… to read all that good stuff does no harm to one’s self-esteem.
So I am admitting now that I go through life pretty happy with myself most of the time. I do not think my ego is inflated (those of you who know me personally can correct me there if I am fooling myself), and I know I do not think I am better than anyone else. But I do know I can and do accomplish more things than the average person. Sometimes it makes me crazy because I do so many things and some around me do so few, but probably even that feeds my self-esteem a little bit.
So today I was brought back to earth. My doorbell rang. It was not time for the UPS man, so I did not answer it. I quietly went to peek to see if it was someone I knew or a salesperson, and no one was there. I thought I saw a basket. That seemed a little strange, but our neighborhood is good at passing baskets of goodies around (often initiated by yours truly), so I thought it was that. I was in the middle of something, so I left it there and forgot about it.
A couple of hours later I went outside and found the basket you see above. I was astounded. It just seemed like there was too much stuff in there to be a neighborhood goody basket. I brought it inside and looked closely. DEFINITELY too much for a neighborhood gift, and I was sure I saw a gift card. WHAT WAS GOING ON?
I opened it, and there was a note like a scroll:
It said it was from my church. It said “they” realized how much we do, and it was a small token of appreciation.
If you are a regular reader, you may remember that one of my many church responsibilities is Church Treasurer. That means I know there is no budget for things like this. Also, I would know if it was done anyway because I would have to have the receipt. I know I will not get a receipt. That means one of two things: 1) The Pastor and his wife did it on their own with their own money, or 2) A group of people got together and contributed and did it. My vote is on #1 because I know how the Pastor is. But either way, it was kind and generous and humbling. Sometimes when someone (like me) does so many things, s/he almost thinks that no one else is doing anything. Sometimes I feel like all I do is give, give, give. I do not WANT to “get,” but sometimes I just wish there were a little less giving. But someone else gave to me, and it was a sobering experience.
Here are the things that were in the basket:
These are little mint tins for Chic and Chicklet along with Ben & Jerry’s gift cards for them:
Below is a Toys ‘R’ Us Gift card for Chic and Chicklet.
Reader, the value of that gift card is $40.
The bread and the wild rice soup is below. The bread was Herb Four-Cheese bread. We had it with dinner tonight. (Remember I make bread on Fridays? This came early enough that I had not started making bread yet. It was nice because I am sick.) It was DELICIOUS!
A jar of raspberry jam is next. Did whoever know that raspberry is my favorite? Doesn’t the label just look like what is inside will be good?
Next is the sparkling cider and munchy-stuff mix. We will have the cider for tomorrow’s dinner after church. (If the residents of this house are not named “Louise,” they will be lucky to get even a bite of the munchy stuff.)
And finally, this:
Reader, this is a gift card to Williams-Sonoma for $100. (Can any of you imagine that I was in tears by this point?)
So our family is feeling a little more grounded than we might have yesterday, or even this morning. We still have plenty of self-esteem and we are still doing all the things we were before. We still do not ever get a full day “off.” But we fully realize that we are not the only ones.