Difficult Days, Hope Spoken, Perfect Match

So very blessed from Jake’s ‘YES’

Those were the words she sent that immediately brightened this gray and dreary day here in the northwest. The rain started early and is staying late, and my body is slowly recovering from whatever knocked me down and out this weekend.

It’s a good kind of day to snuggle up with a mug of tea and good book, and wake back up tomorrow.

But isn’t it interesting to reflect back on the same date and all that it held? I guess Facebook lets you do that now, but honestly, I miss the paper calendars we used to keep, before pens turned to touch pads and phones told us where to be when.

We’d write our reminders through the days and weeks that made up the year.  The bonus was that as we’d transfer the birthdays and celebration days to the next year’s calendar, we’d be treated to our own ‘year in review’ from the one before.

Now maybe I didn’t need to be reminded of the 573 soccer practices that past year or the 357 Scout outings or the haircuts, conferences, appointments and myriad other details of every day life,
but I’ve been so thankful to have some of those calendars from years’ past. I can glance through in wonderment that it didn’t simply implode from what we sometimes packed in (!) and I can also look back and remind my heart as I mark the days we just shared life.  They’re the reminders, and they’re what give life and color and memory to the years.

And five years ago today, what the calendar marked was the day Jake’s Yes was delivered to a hospital room in Florida. It’s the day his bone marrow was busy multiplying in a woman who desperately needed it to do just that.

I had written this in my journal that day, and was so thankful to come across it just a few weeks ago:

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It was the perfect match. It was a gift he had to give, and five years later, it’s still giving life to this beautiful woman and the family she loves.

Life!

It really is amazing in so many ways. That modern medicine can even do that, that blood cancer is something any of us might have the ability to cure, and that out of millions of people on the bone marrow registry, Jake was her only match, her first and last best hope.

I’m still awed by the fact of it, always. But I’m also awed by the life Crystal’s living because of it.   She’s exuberance and joy, and brings absolute sunshine to everyone she meets. She’s raising her children so well through the tough teenage years, she’s fun and helpful auntie to three, and loving daughter to doting parents. She’s even running 5k’s and going to school to help others who are where she was. I guess you could say she acts the way you might with a new lease on life, but she lives the gift beautifully, and accepts us as family so gracefully.

Her papa sent me a picture of her (re)birthday cake today. It was beautiful! But the message accompanying it even more so:

Papa Mike’s voicemail

I can’t tell you how that hugged my heart today!

It’s definitely a milestone day in the way we measure them. After all, it’s our 3/13!! But I also believe it’s a day anyone’s calendar has the capacity to hold.

Not everyone may get to be a bone marrow donor, but I believe everyone has their own yes to give. It could be as simple as bringing out a smile that wasn’t there before, or something so big it changes someone’s whole trajectory. My guess is most of us fall somewhere in the in-between. But it doesn’t matter.  Whatever it is, large, medium or small, often, sometimes or once in a while. It simply matters that we do.  That we explore our reach, giving to others in the ways that we can, simply because we can. Whether it’s investing your time in someone’s life, or just holding the door for the person behind you, every action makes a difference.

Our dear friend Lucille lived 86 loving and beautiful years on this earth. She taught me so much about the value of time, but not in the ways you might think. Her calendar too, was filled to overflowing some days and I was always pleasantly pleased to be penciled in, because when you were with her, you were her priority, no matter what was before or what would come next.

Her calendar was full because her heart was overflowing with love…

…But her heart was overflowing with love because her calendar was full.

We all have a reach.  We have a gifting, a sphere of influence, and an ability to make a difference, don’t we? Sometimes it’s easier to pretend we don’t, but once we start, oh the good we can do and share and give, the influence we can have!

Whose life can you brighten with a little extension of your reach?

Lucille’s parting wisdom was this: “Evaluate your calendar. Find the thing that pierces your heart and do it. Volunteer, get involved, make a difference. You’ll never be disappointed.”

So no matter how gray the skies or how wet the pavement, ‘behind the clouds is the sun still shining,’ as my dear friend Mr. Ellis lovingly quoted from a favorite poem. And it is! It’s a statement of fact rather than question of truth. And whenever I need to see it, feel it, or soak in it, this beautiful woman is right there sharing it…

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Because Jake said yes.

What will your own yes look like?  I hope you’ll share in the comments!

3 thoughts on “So very blessed from Jake’s ‘YES’”

  1. The audio (recording) link worked! Loud and clear.  Another beautiful 3/13 anniversary/birthday that no amount of rain could dampen.  I hope you and the girls have a much more restful night than the last few, with the sound of that same life-giving rain on the windows lulling you to a peaceful, contented rest knowing your son made all of Crystal’s tomorrows a reality. Love you,MSent from Xfinity Connect Mobile App

  2. Thank you for thoughts from your soft and tender heart on this day among days, 3/13. Calendars from the past and journals matter so much to me too. Memories come back fresh as daisies.
    Not only was Jake Crystal’s perfect marrow match, but the reverse is that the Osha family seems a perfect match to yours (or ours, I like to think). Could they be any nicer or more loving and kind, and appreciative of each day?
    Someone said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” You inspire me by all the good deeds you do, and now in your blog you’ve kindled a new commitment in me, to extend grace, love, and good feeling as I use MY present…Today.
    That’s my girl! Loving you is happiness, mom

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