Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Thank You Note - 30 years overdue

When I was 5 years old my dad died. I am the oldest child. My little brother was 2 and my mom was 3 months pregnant with my little sister. Like most women of her generation, my mom had stopped going to college in order to raise a family. That is completely okay. In her situation, however, it left her with no employable skills and besides, she had three small children - paying for daycare would have taken the entire paycheck.

She did all she could to stay home with us and support us but there was never ever enough money to even have the basic necessities some of the time.  There are so many stories to tell - some of them miraculous - some of them very sad.

A miraculous story has been occupying my thoughts lately...

One spring when I was about 9 or 10 years old, our roof began to leak. I remember about 5 or 6 buckets sitting in strategic places throughout the house to catch the drips of water from the melting snows and spring rains. 

We desperately needed a new roof but there was absolutely no money for a roof. We couldn't even afford food most of the time. How in the world were we going to afford a roof?

The summer came. It was a dry summer. The whole of Northern Utah was probably praying for rain, but my mom was praying that it would not rain. We did not need to worry about our roof during the summer. But when fall came, my mom knew something would need to be done or our roof would not make it through the winter.

 We prayed - a lot.

One Sunday, the Bishop of our congregation approached my mom to tell her that a man at church had given him a large sum of money and told him that it was to be used specifically for our roof.

It was a miracle - but that was only the beginning...

Very early, one fall morning, about 20 men from church showed up and stayed until the sun went down putting a whole new roof on our little house.

I will forever have etched in my memory the scene of those 20 men on my roof, working hard, talking, laughing,  hammering away.

If I could write a thank you note to everyone who participated in this miracle, this is what I would say...

Dear whomever you are,

Thirty years ago you helped put a new roof on my family's home. You probably don't remember, but I do. I was 9-years-old. My family had no money but we were in desperate need. 

One of you paid for that roof. I have no idea who you are. I know Who does know who you are and I hope and pray that our Savior gave you many, many blessings for your sacrifice. You did so much more than just donate some money. Your generosity inspired about 20 other men to join you in this service - who in turn, inspired me.

See, what you didn't realize was that there was a little 9-year-old red headed girl watching all of you that day. Watching you and learning from you. You thought you were just putting on a roof but you were doing so much more. You were teaching me what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I understand now that there were wives at home with honey-do-lists of their own for you to work on and children who would have loved to spend time with their dad. My gratitude extends to their sacrifices as well. The lessons they unknowingly taught me that day, have influenced my life also.

Thank you. Much of who I am today, is due to the powerful examples of every day people like yourselves who are just doing their best to serve our Savior and make it Home. May the Lord bless each of you because I know that He knows exactly who you are, where you are and what you need. Just like He knew that my little family needed a new roof. He also knew that a little 9-year-old girl would someday draw great strength and the courage to act from your examples and service. He was taking care of us then and He was teaching me lessons that would inspire me in the future.

With eternal gratitude,
The little red headed girl

“God does watch over us and does notice us, but it is usually through someone else that he meets our needs.”

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