Husband & Wife Articles


 

Love One Another

In time of need, this widower learned to accept help

By Rich Vosler

When Joanne first got sick, people came out of the woodwork to help us. Her mother, first and foremost, started coming every morning to help and be with her. It was a great help for us. She took care of most of the meals and household chores. As Joanne’s illness progressed, she would stay over.

 

Shortly afterwards, a group of people from work collected some money and paid for a house cleaner for us every two weeks. Then the food started showing up. Joanne had been part of a Mom’s Group at our church in Marietta, Georgia, and they would bring food to people who were struggling. Joanne had made several meals for the group and delivered them to people’s homes. This same group was now delivering meals to us. We had meals delivered every day for seven months. It was unbelievable. I bought a larger freezer to store it all!
 
We had friends take the kids out for day trips to the mall and Chucky Cheese’s, buying them whatever they needed and not asking for anything in return. The Boy Scout group that my sons belonged to did a yard clean up at our home during the fall and swept up all the leaves and sticks and helped us fix some small things around the house that were in need of repair. Joanne’s two cousins from California spent a week with her and the kids doing crafts, scrapbooks and spending quality time with Joanne. Neighbors offered rides, invited us to holiday events, collected money from strangers and surrounded us with love. Three friends that I worked with brought us two Christmas trees in December complete with lights and decorations and stayed to help us decorate. A youth group from our church came to sing Christmas carols in our living room. There must have been over 50 kids! My bosses allowed me to work through my Blackberry and laptop. It was lifesaving. And our close friends Kihm and Matt were with us daily, taking the kids off our hands and just being with us to make sure we were ok.
 
Three months before Joanne died, we moved back to New Jersey, to be closer to family and get some additional medical opinions. All these same people volunteered to fix up our home in Georgia and get it ready to be sold. They painted, laid new floors in the kitchen and foyer, cleaned up, did repairs, and packed up all our belongings we left behind.
 
What I learned from all this is that there are still great people in the world. We tend to focus on the people who don’t seem to care, the lack of good people in the world and just how bad everything is. These friends opened my eyes to see things differently. They totally changed my perspective on how good people can be. There really are great people in the world today.
 
You might be surprised when I tell you that, at first, I wanted everyone just to leave us alone. This was something that was private and we were going to get through it alone. I was going to be responsible for curing Joanne’s cancer. My ego was going to make sure of it. I didn’t like answering the door everyday with a fake smile and I didn’t want to share my problems either. But God would have it a different way. He let these people persist and they changed my life. I learned to accept their help, and I learned to love their help and them.

Today, over six years later, we still have people in our lives helping us. I have to believe it’s because I’ve learned to accept their help for what it really is: Genuine love for others, the way Jesus loves us. And that’s one of the biggest things we’re called to as Christians, Catholics and Knights of Columbus – To love one another as Christ has loved us and to love our neighbor as ourselves. I am now able to give back to others through my own acts of service. But it took the love of many people to show me that. And I am truly, truly thankful to them all for not giving up.

Rich Vosler is a father, businessman, author, coach and speaker. He is a featured blogger for Catholic Digest.com and recently published his first book The Vosler's Nest: 45 Short Stories of Faith, Hope, and Encouragement. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 8733 of Tabernacle, N.J. His website is RichVosler.com.