Sunday, November 7, 2010

tissues.

Today, I'm simply thankful for one thing: tissues.

Tissues? I know, right? Random!

Well, let me explain...

Tissues have always seemed to carry with them a little touch of love. Think about what we use them for... to wipe that child's nose who, bless his heart, just can't wipe it himself... to hand to a friend to wipe away tears flowing from a broken heart... to clean up a bloody knee. There have been so many acts of love and service I have seen through the use of tissues. Most of those acts were performed by the female population. (Although, I do think it's absolutely precious to see a dad wipe his kid's nose.)

I have always thought it was so sweet to see someone hand a tissue to a tearful friend. There's just something about the gentle act that screams, "I love you!" to me. However, I never really get to experience that myself because I never... mark my words... NEVER cry in public. (I'm trying to get better about this... the older I get, the more emotional I get... so maybe my tissue-needing days are coming soon!)

But, there was one time in my life when I did experience this. And this is when I fell in love with tissues. I was sitting on the front row of my dad's funeral. I had been pretty strong so far... mostly just silent and without expression... but then the slideshow started playing and suddenly the dam in  my tear ducts opened up. I lost it. I was crying and I had no idea what to do. My best friend at the time, Katie Heigel, was sitting right next to me and what she did is something I will never forget.

Without ever even looking at me, she slowly reached down into her purse, grabbed a couple of tissues and gracefully moved her hand toward mine. She placed the tissues in my hand.

At first, I froze.

Tissues?? Who needs tissues? They're for the weak.

I just sat there, gripping them so tight, mad at them in a way. I didn't need these stupid things. But the tears kept falling... harder and harder... I couldn't see, my face was soaked, my nose was snotty. I needed tissues.

I slowly raised my hand and tried to somewhat resurrect the poor, crumpled up tissues in my palm. As they regained their original form, I wiped one eye, moving slowly across my face to the other eye. Then I wiped off my cheeks and finally stopped the fountain coming from my nose. It felt so good.

At this point I asked myself, "What do people do with them now? They're disgusting. They're covered in tears and snot." So, like any sanitary person, I put them under my chair. As I did, the tears kept coming, but so did the tissues. Every time they came, she handed me more. This continued throughout the entire service (which seemed to last FOR-EVER).

We never spoke about that moment. We didn't have to. The actions spoke way louder than any words could have.

Ever since that day I've had a desire to be that kind of friend... the tissue-giving friend. I'll be honest. I'm not. At least not naturally. I am HORRIBLE in situations when people are hurting or sick. I just freak out and don't have a clue what to do.

My gift is my words. I am very comfortable speaking and teaching and talking to people during hard times. But, when it comes to the moments that don't need words, just need presence and small acts of love, such as handing a tissue, giving a hug, holding a hand... I'm not so gifted. I'm not so comfortable with those. But, I've learned in life that just because something is not natural or comfortable for you doesn't mean you can't learn to be better at it, and maybe even good at it.

So, I say ALL that to say this: I am slowly but surely becoming a better tissue-giver. I'm not NEAR as awkward in those situations as I used to be. I'm actually learning to embrace them and use them as ways to love on people. I'm still not even close to being good at it, but I'm way better than I was. And every day I strive to be more and more like that.

Those tissues that day taught me a very big lesson in love and friendship. I was so thankful that they were there that day, and I'm thankful for every tissue in the future I will have handed to me, and every one I will hand to others.

Today, I'm thankful for tissues.


...And on a VERY random side note... I realized today that my office was actually MISSING tissues! Seriously! How does a girls minister not have tissues? Do you know how many times I've been discipling a girl and we've gotten into a tearful conversation and I had nothing to hand her?? Not to mention my nose has been running ALL week and I've made some very inconvenient trips to and from the bathroom.

So today, I took care of this problem. I made a very important trip to Target to supply my wonderful office with a nice box of Christmas Kleenexes.

When I went, they had this box with a "J" on it. It's actually holographic (I think that's the right word?) and when you move at different angels you also see an "O" and a "Y". (That spells JOY in case you're confused.) But, I saw the "J" and the Christmas and just knew this box was for me!


Now I am equipped and prepared to be a tissue-hander. Don't think I'm weird for this, but I actually prayed over that box and asked God to bless every conversation that may use those tissues.

I'm excited. I can't wait for someone to cry now!

Have a great day!


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1 comment:

bekahm said...

Your gift of words far exceeds the lack of "tissue giving" and your desire to be that does as well. I hope you know that. I said it already...but thank you for loving me and going out of your way to be that kind of friend. You ARE that friend.....even when it feels like you don't think I see you that way, or when you feel like you aren't.

Also, on another note this reminds me of the tissue commercials I see. Did you know you can mail people tissues online?