Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Good Deed is A Good Day

Last week, I had a terrible, no good kind of morning.  I won’t even delve into all the details of the morning, but let’s just summarize with the following 5 phrases: sick stomach, potty accident, late for appointment, forgot paperwork, cavity and crown needed.  All before 9 am.  We’ve all had those days, and we’ve all wanted to forget those days.  

Right after it all went down, I met up with my Mom to go school shopping for my kids.  Phil had five of our kids in camp that day, and so I brought the baby with me and the three of us headed to the outlets.  After getting to shop in the first store, Declan needed to eat, so I sat on a bench outside and people watched, which is one of my most favorite activities (much to my husband’s chagrin.)  I was still reeling a bit from the morning’s disasters and trying to let it all go as I sat and fed my sweet baby boy.  Mothers who passed by gave me a knowing smile as they watched Declan’s feet peeking out from under the blanket I was covering myself with.  Older couples stopped to say hello as I burped him.  A young teenage girl sat down beside me on the bench, unaware that I was nursing a baby and looked a little embarrassed when she realized she had committed to sitting next to me.  I laughed inwardly at her sweet naivety.  

Then I saw a husband and wife (I’m assuming here) coming towards me to go into the store.  The woman had her hand on the husband’s shoulder and the man was in a motorized wheelchair.  She asked him if he would be okay waiting outside while she ran into the store to pick something up, and he nodded okay.  As I was finishing up the feeding, I watched that man try to stretch out his arms and get comfortable in his chair, then looked down at my baby and was overwhelmed with gratitude for his health.  For all my kid’s health.  For my husband’s health.  For the strong loving marriage we shared.  For the beautiful witnesses to marriage we both had growing up.  For all my siblings and in-laws and their families.  We are so so so blessed.  My perspective about my terrible morning completely shifted.  I had so much to be thankful for.   

An elderly woman came over as I was trying to continue shopping and was cooing over Declan and touching his cheek (which normally makes me squirm) but I just let her, it seemed to make her so happy.  I told my mom about how I let that woman touch Declan a little too much than what I was comfortable with, and she said “a good deed is a good day”.  She’s a smart cookie, that one!  And she’s so right, because the days I go to bed feeling the best are the days that I’ve served others the most.  After receiving wonderful meals when I came home from the hospital with Declan, I joined the Meal Ministry at our church, and have been blessed with opportunities to make meals for others.  Everybody is so thankful to receive a meal, it’s humbling and amazing.  I have since decided to try to make every day a good day by doing at least one good deed, and God is giving me plenty of opportunities (be careful what you pray for!). 

A few days ago, my friend, Laura, texted that her college friend, Sarah, needed prayers right away, as she had been attacked by a swarm of bees while out with her children.  Sarah was able to make it home to tell her husband that bees had attacked her, and then she went unconscious.  She was pregnant with their fifth child, a girl named Cecilia.  You can read more about her story here.  Both Sarah and baby Cecilia ended up passing away.  As I was getting updates on her status, my heart was so heavy for her family and sleeping did not come easy that night.  I wanted to do something to help, yet had nothing to do but pray. 

  When I realized that Laura was going to fly down to her funeral, I offered to drive her to the airport, because in a selfish way, it made me feel better knowing I was doing something to help out in some way.  Laura and I talked in the car about Sarah, and I was saying that it just didn’t make sense.  She was a young, healthy woman, open to life and passionate about spreading Our Blessed Mother’s devotion to the Rosary (she made clay rosaries).  Laura said she was thinking the same thing and had told a mutual friend who replied that Our Lady was surely with her at her death, she had loved Mary so much, and Mary loved her even more.  That made us feel better, as does picturing her in Heaven holding her unborn baby girl, and knowing she had just visited her family and gone on a date with her husband.  It was as if she had been able to tie up loose ends without knowing it.  The bee stings made an aneurysm in her brain rupture, and the combination of it all had been too much.  Laura said that since she had that aneurysm, it could have ruptured at any time, so maybe this tragic event was a little bit of an act of mercy by God.  Maybe she could have been driving with all her kids in the car when it happened, and this terrible tragedy was actually the lesser evil.  

I don’t know, I can’t stop thinking about it, but I feel like I have to explain it somehow, I have to do something to help.  I can clearly see by the grace of God that the man in the wheelchair and Sarah’s death have made me appreciate all I have a little more.  It’s so easy to take our blessings and gifts for granted.  We mustn’t. We never know when God will stop giving us borrowed time.  Hug your kids, kiss your spouse and thank God for all that is good.  If you feel so inclined, please pray for the Harkins family and think about donating to help, for a good deed is a good day.

Sarah and her family.


  1. I could have written this post. I had a pity party for myself for most of last weekend. I couldn't sleep and was crying a lot. (Partly hormones I know but my problem seemed like a major life crisis.) Then I saw on Jamie's blog about Sarah and it took my breath away. My "major crisis" was little more than an inconvenience. Sarah is truly touching lives in her death, even just by the reminder of how precious life is.

  2. I heard Sarah's passing and her baby and it's so sad. It's been on my mind lately. Yes, so true that these events put life into perspective.

  3. So sad... Praying for Sarah and her family.

  4. Colleen, thanks for sharing your knowledge of this terrible sad loss with us. Prayers and tears for this tragic loss and for her precious babies left behind.

  5. I know, I can't get Sarah and her family out of my mind either. You wrote about this beautifully.

  6. I'm so heartsick about Sarah and baby Cecilia... I knew Sarah, though not as well as Laura. Sarah was a senior when I was a freshman, but she was part of that upperclassman set in household that I really looked up to and strived to emulate. It's just completely devastating; I can't imagine how her husband and family are surviving.

  7. I heard this story too and its been bothering me since yesterday. It just makes me think no one knows how much time they have. We have to stop wasting all our seconds on stupid things. There is no way to explain it or make sense of it other than we all only have so much time on earth. It makes me sad for the children and husband too--but I know there must be a reason for all of this.

  8. A good deed is a good day. I love that one and have to remember it.

    Since reading aobut Sarah on facebook and through Jamie, I can't stop thinking of her and her family. I do know Sarah's parents (Minnesotans) and went with them on a mission trip to Guatemala shortly after high school. I still remember the day we were in the city and a man stepped out from the alley unexpectedly approaching me quickly. Startled, coming face to face with an unknown man, I stopped frightened. Sarah's mom was quickly at my side and put her arm around me, rushing me away. I never forgot that simple act and how motherly she was while I was far from home and away from my own mom. Sarah had a very wonderful example of motherhood and womanhood both by her earthly and heavenly mother.
    It seems that none of us can get Sarah and her tragedy out of our heads. I know that my week has taken a much different turn than the spiral of crabbiness most of this summer has been on. I approach the day differently, respond to my children differently and make the choice to live differently.
    I think Sarah left many of us moms with an amazing role model and a mom to intercede for us in heaven.

  9. I love your mom's line "a good deed is a good day" and I also love that you included it in your tribute to Sarah because that is how she lived her life. I wanted to remind you that as a mom to 6 you perform countless good deeds in your daily routine. Every day you can rejoice that it was a great day by serving your family even if you don't have time to perform a good deed to someone outside of that.

  10. Is this a "Thankful" post? Loved it. I squirmed though reading about the older lady touching baby Declan a little too much...I think I'm a lot like you!!

    Anyway, it's so nice to read how Sarah's life and death have effected so many people, even those that have never met her. That's God. That's the good in it.

    Love the good deed thing too, we just started a thing where the kids need to do something nice for someone else and tell us at supper what it was. (we started yesterday and I forgot to ask at supper!! ) We'll ask this morning at prayertime!

    I'm going to use that "a good deed is a good day"!! Your mom's love is spreading!


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