Source: tumblr.com via Shari on Pinterest

There is a woman at church who I have recently become friends with.  This woman is a little rough around the edges...someone who on first glance most people don't give the time of day.  (sad to say, but true.  I'm sure you all know people like that...)  I sat with her at a Relief Society dinner earlier this year, and learned a little bit about her. 

Since then, I'd smile and say 'hi' but never really had another conversation with her.  Then after I had Aleks, I came to Relief Society night and chatted with her quite a bit about babies.  I found out that she had a still birth -- the baby had Trisomy 18 (I think that's what she said), and then her other son (now an adult) is autistic.  Of course hearing about her trials made me feel sad and almost guilty as I listened to her share these hard things with me all while holding my perfectly healthy new baby boy.  My heart ached even more when she went on to tell me how badly she wishes her autistic son could get married, because she knows he would be a great father.  He just loves babies and has a special way with them.  As soon as she said that, I told her that the next time I saw him at church, I would ask him if he wanted to hold my baby. 

Well, I did just that, and you should have seen her face light up when she saw how happy he was to hold my baby.  I could tell that it really meant a lot to her, and that made me so happy!  I really, genuinely wanted to show love and compassion for her and her son, and felt like that was the perfect way to start.  

Well, 2 weeks ago, as she was leaving Sunday School, I noticed she looked really down.  I asked her if she was going home, and she said yes, and I noticed she had tears welling up in her eyes.  I asked her if she was alright, and she said that she had asked her mom if she was a burden (she and her son live with her mom right now) and that her mom replied, yes, she was a burden and that she had no idea how much of a burden she was.  She told me that she tries really hard to help out and to make life easier for her mom, but it never seems to be enough, but she just can't afford to live somewhere else. 

Wow, it took a lot for me to not start bawling right then and there!!!  I just reached out and gave her a huge hug and told her how sorry I was to hear that.  I also told her to please call me anytime she needs someone to talk to...  She seemed a bit shocked when I hugged her...but then she hugged me back and then she left and I sat down and wiped my own tears away. 

Ever since then, I have had the above quote running through my head.  I have heard it before, and I have had it pinned on my pinterest board for a while now...but I really believe it is true.  Even if she hadn't shared those personal things with me, I still think I would have been her friend.

There have been others like her that I've met in my life, people who have seemed lonely and maybe didn't have many friends...and I've always been drawn to them.  I just can't stand the thought of someone thinking or feeling like no one likes/loves them or thinks they are worth being friends with.  I truly believe that Heavenly Father puts those people in my life for a reason...and I hope they feel the same way.

Knowing that we are ALL His children, is all it takes to open up my heart and give someone a chance.

I hope that my new friend from church knows how special she really is... and next time I see her, I plan on telling her...just in case she doesn't know.  


Melissa said...

You are such a great person Shari. It is good of you to be aware and reach out like you did. I am not so good at that, but I try to offer a smile and hello if nothing else. We need more people like you. Thanks for sharing. :)

Jodi said...

Wow Shari. That is a touching story. You are a good person. There needs to be more people like you inside and outside of church!

Maria said...

Thank you for sharing that story! It is so true, we don't know what others are going through. I have a close friend in the Ward that is like the sister you described. She has told me that there are many people in the Ward that will not talk to her, in fact they will be sitting next to her and completely ignore her! I know it hurts her, if they only knew what she has gone through an is STILL going through. All it takes is a hello or a hug. You are awesome Shari!

Sonya said...

You have a good heart. What a great example you are.

Jenny J said...

I am grateful for friends like you that make me want to be a better me.

Sara Mortensen said...

Thank u for sharing this. It was touching.