The other day I made one of those super-simple but utterly adorable no-sew tutus for Ysa. It was a fun and easy project made more fun by the prospect of the delight I was anticipating she would feel when she opened the gift. She is such a sweet-tiny-ballerina-dancing-girl that I was pretty certain the simple gift would be a hit. I finished the tutu, wrapped it in some very pretty soft pink paper tied with a pink bow and figured that was that. Finished. But there was a flicker of a thought in my head. Just there, not articulated. That thought simmered and waited for me to have the quiet to tease the thread of it, to follow it and see where it went. So quiet that I hardly knew it was waiting.

What I did know was that I felt happy. A particular flavour of happy that is unique to having done something, no matter how small and simple, for someone I love. 'Doing' is my best language for expressing love. So I finished the day in the glow of my little project - happy that Ysa would be happy and that I could contribute. As I was winding down and preparing for bed I understood something that had eluded me and it was this: 

I have always found a great deal of joy in doing things for my children. I love them to the moon and back, more than the whole earth, forever and ever. I tell them so (and have always told them so) in as many ways as I can find - words included - but doing little things to delight them or make their lives easier has been an important part of the way I live each day. Since Merin's death I miss doing those small things for her that I used to find joy in doing, but when I do something for her daughter it feels like doing for her and that feels just right. As I followed that thought I understood in a very visceral way that when I am kind to another, when I sacrifice in even a small way for another's happiness I am certainly doing something for my Heavenly Father. In the same way that I cannot 'do' something directly for Merin, I cannot do something directly for him but when I serve his children, I show my love for him.

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 
- Matthew 25:40

Certainly not a new doctrine. Not even one that I didn't understand in my mind. But now I feel it in a new and personal way. I understand it in my heart. Another layer of love to wrap my small gifts of love in.

Photo courtesy of Merin's (and our) very dear friend Natasha Van Dierendonck. Thanks so much!


Jonathon said...

I think you have done an exemplary job of communicating your love for us through both doing and vocalizing. I was just telling a friend last night that doing is one of the ways you show me love - and that I am so grateful to be so sure of it. I also think you have fostered a culture of doing. Because it's how I have been loved, doing is one of my favorite ways to show love. It's so gratifying and sincere. Thanks for the example and the lesson.

Jonathon said...

I keep coming back just to look at this sweet picture!

Cheri said...

Jonathon - It makes me happy too. So soft and sweet and Ysa. Thanks for letting me know. Love you.

Elizabeth Cranmer said...

What a beautiful process of discovery. You are so spot on with this. It inspires to me to look around today and do such a thing, and to remember the small things that will matter too.