Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thank You!

I don’t know how to even begin to thank everyone for their kindness and generosity. I really can’t wrap my brain around it. A couple days later, it still seems so surreal. I can’t manage to process something of this magnitude. I just sit here, staring at my computer, watching the amount of donations add up higher and higher. I read and reread all your comments and emails offering support, encouragement, prayers, and thanks. And every single time I read them, I cry. I tried to make a video blog to thank everyone, but every time I pressed record and tried to talk, I started bawling and you couldn’t understand a word I was saying.

A lot of people have tried to help me make sense of it all. My friend, Kelli asked me, “You have faith that God will care for you, right?”

“Yeah,” I answered, not knowing where she was going with this.

“Then let Him care for you! He uses His people to care for each other. It’s not just about you. It’s about letting God work in the hearts of people and moving them to show compassion for another.”

I immediately thought of that old joke.

It had been raining for days and days, and a terrible flood had come over the land. The waters rose so high that one man was forced to climb onto the roof of his house.

As the waters rose higher and higher, a man in a rowboat appeared, and told him to get in. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the man in the rowboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

The waters rose higher and higher, and suddenly a speedboat appeared. "Climb in!" shouted a man in the boat. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the man in the speedboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

The waters continued to rise. A helicopter appeared and over the loudspeaker, the pilot announced he would lower a rope to the man on the roof. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the helicopter went away..

The waters rose higher and higher, and eventually they rose so high that the man on the roof was washed away, and alas, the poor man drowned.

Upon arriving in heaven, the man marched straight over to God. "Heavenly Father," he said, "I had faith in you, I prayed to you to save me, and yet you did nothing. Why?" God gave him a puzzled look, and replied "I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you expect?"

I tried explaining to my kids how God cares for us. I said, "God is not way up there in heaven, looking down at people who are going through hard times and saying, 'Wow, sucks to be you!' He's right here next to us, saying, 'I got your back. Trust me.'"

{You know the only thing Clay took away from our little talk, right? That's right! "Sucks to be you!" I'm sure he went to school on Friday and when a little kid tripped and fell, there was Clay saying, "Sucks to be you!" I can just see his teacher saying that she'd lost her book and couldn't remember where she'd put it. "Ha! Sucks to be you!" Clay would respond. Sigh. I really need to choose my words more carefully around him.}

And then I thought of how it makes me feel to give to others. I love being able to help someone out, in whatever small way I can. It makes me feel great! It makes me feel that, in this world of injustice and pain, I can do something to make a difference. Is my individual act making a huge difference? Maybe not in and of itself, but as I’ve written on my blog several times in the past, you never know how far reaching your one act can travel. I pray that there were some new people who happened along my blog in the past few days and saw the outpouring of generosity and compassion from my readers. And maybe they weren’t moved to help me, a person they don’t know, but they were moved to make a difference somewhere for someone. Perhaps they went out and shoveled an elderly neighbor’s driveway, or brought a casserole to a member of their church who just had surgery, or called an old friend simply to tell them they’re thinking of them, or donated money to help with the flooding in Australia. It’s all good. And one act of kindness can spread so far.

Before Christmas, when Jackson was in the hospital, depressed, he drew this picture.

He drew a circle that represented him. He then drew three lines branching out from that circle representing three people for whom he’d done random acts of kindness. From those three circles, he drew several others branching off to represent the acts of kindness that the three people were inspired to perform. And so on and so forth until (several hours later) he’d filled the entire paper with hundreds of connections.

He said he wanted to do something big with his life, but he was just a kid and couldn’t make much of a difference. Then he looked at his drawing again and realized that maybe he could make a big difference after all because it just takes one person.

My kids and I thank you from the bottoms of our hearts. And one day (hopefully soon) we WILL pay it forward. Thank you!


Kim Neyer said...

Dawn, I just wanted to say that I downloaded your book to my kindle the other night, and I was reading it in the waiting room of the eye doctor this afternoon. I probably looked like a complete dork for laughing out loud when everyone else was silently staring at the wall. I can't wait to keep reading. You are so funny, and whether you realize it or not, you do a lot for people just by making them laugh out loud.

Kris Roach said...

Hi Dawn, I love how you explained this to your kids and gave God the glory. I truly believe that God is the one looking after you Meehans and being sure that you are provided for and your needs are met...I believe he moved on people's hearts and filled them with compassion for your situation...he used Lisa to open a door that we could all use to come in and help a little. Like all those circles and lines on the page, no ONE person did so much, but LOT'S of us did what we could and together, it will be a lot! I pray that you will get another writing contract real soon, whether for a book or television or whatever. You are so funny, I could see you writing a sitcom...heck they could make a sitcom based on your family, but I am not sure whether you would want that or not....anyway, I continue to lift you up in prayer...I feel faith, hope and love flooding in and replacing the despair and fear that was trying to take over only a few short days ago. Isn't God GOOD!!! Be blessed and be a blessing....Kristina Roach

The Gibson's said...

Thanks for sharing Jackson's picture and your thoughts with us. One person can really make a difference. We can do small things but those small things can add up so quickly. I love those commercials that show one person doing something small and another person is watching and then they turn around and do something in return. I wish more people realized to look out for others and not always looking out for themselves. Your words always encourage me and I am so grateful I can click a link and be able to read a funny story and for a moment forget my own struggles. You make me want to be a better mom, thank you for that!

sharalyns said...

Beautiful of Jackson. What a great representation of the little differences we can each make in the lives of others.

((hugs)) to all of you!

Pat said...

You are awesome and funny so hang on, there will be a dawn for you and the kids.

Jen said...

Would he be willing to auction off the drawing? That's really cool and I'd love to have it on my wall!

dhaynes said...

Very well put Dawn! You finally get it! We are all paying it forward just as you have asked us to do so many times in your blog. Just like you and your children have done in the past. So sorry that we have made you cry, but I know without a doubt that as soon as you can you will be paying it forward again. You have enough on your plate right now. Try to do what you can for the boys, they need you now and tho it may seem like everything in your world is falling apart, your faith will get you through. Sorry this has gotten so long but you have touched me greatly in the last few years and I feel so bad for what you are having to go through right now. My prayers are with you and your family. Praying for strength to get you through all of this.

happygirl said...

Wow is that child amazing. His heart and mind are beautiful.

And I'll Raise You 5 said...

Jackson's drawing is amazing.

I can't give any $$, but will pray for your family, andc will look for ways to make a difference anywhere I can. I'd like to be one of those branches in your son's picture.

V1nce said...

We have no doubts you & your family will pay it forward. Individually we may appear small but collectively we move mountains.

Frau Mahlzahn said...

Thanks for sharing the picture Jackson drew -- that's just such a great way to demonstrate how we can all make a difference!

I love your new book, btw -- did you hear me laugh so hard, when you talked about pregnant women _not_ suffering through morning sickness??? With my last kid morning sickness lasted the whole _forty_ months, *yikes* -- so, yeah, I could relate, *ggg*.

I'm thinking of you and sending lots of good thoughts your way!

So long,

Luke said...

As a parent and as a teacher I see Jackson's picture as that of a fundamentally healthy kid. He's going through some rough times right now, but if he can just always think about all the people he can help just through ONE ACT? He'll make it through the other side.

Big hugs to you, Dawn.

MaBunny said...

What a beautiful post! and you are welcome. I am in a slightly difficult financial position right now, and have found out I too have some amazing friends! Isn't it a wonderful feeling?? My continued best for you and the kiddos!

Frau Mahlzahn said...

****the whole _forty_ months, *yikes****

Oups. Make that _forty_ weeks, please, *lol*. (Although it sure felt like forty months...).

I love the idea with the auction of Jackson's drawing!

And you've already done more than your share to make a difference -- not only for your family but also for all of us out there, both with making us laugh but also with sharing your insights, ;-).

It does make a difference!

So don't worry about being on the receiving end. There will be better times again.

So long,

Abby said...

I totally giggled when you mentioned Clay only taking the worst part of your talk to heart. I had a conversation with one of my 7th grade classes a few weeks ago where we were talking about how old I was. One kid said that her parents were only a little bit older than I am. I responded with "I'd hope they're older than I am! I would have had to have a kid when I was 13 to have a kid your age!" Sure enough, kid in the front row suddenly chimes up with "You had a kid at 13?!"

I explained again, but pretty sure he still went home and said I had a kid at 13. :P

GildaGirl said...

Dawn, it is because you are who you are, how we have come to know you, & care for you & your family that we so want to do a little something to help.
I'm grateful for all that you have given me to enjoy & admire over the years, all the laughs & smiles I've shared. Even though I'm not a mom, i know enough to know you are a wonderful mom & have taught your children well.

I Love Jackson's drawing & what it meant to him. What a perfect thing for him & all your children to see it in action & know that we are all tendrils of God's sweet love.
(sorry, Jen, but I think it has to stay with Dawn ;)

Toad said...

Dawn, thank you for being frank and honest about where you and your family are at. Yes, we love to read the funny stuff. But it also helps to know that life isn't always funny. As someone who has struggled with anxiety and other issues since I was about Jackson's age, thank you for being honest.

And please tell Jackson and Austin that it does get better. It won't get better tomorrow, but it does get better.

Jen said...

I'd be happy with a photo copy.

Mark said...

Hi there,Baby Sister! Just wanted you to know that after reading thru Kelli Standish's note, I immediately followed the LINK..and am now awaiting arrival of BOOK TWO!

You know how young brides list their wants and needs with department stores: Howzabout YOU make a little list of whatever THINGS you have immediate needs for: tires for the chariot, roof repairs, maybe some new shoes ...a case or two of your favourite about some VEGEMITE?

Seriously, YOU have become FAMILY for so many of us..and most of us would feel blessed to be able to help out in some way.


Much love from Mark in MASS.

Debbie said...

I have been sick, in bed, for a few days. I have been praying for you and my mom went out and bought two copies of your book to give as gifts. Thank you for the fun and laughter. When I read your work I find that I genuinely laugh, not just a momentary haha, but one of those, 'from the belly, shake your whole body' laughs. Thank you for that. It helps my health. You are already paying it forward with laughter. God has blessed you with this gift and you have blessed me. Thank you!

V1nce said...

Dawn: all you ever have to do to show your thanks is posting that Wii dancing video.

(running now)

Anita M H said...

I love Jackson's picture. It's such a cool illustration of how we are all connected, and everything we do for others counts. You've helped bring a lot of cheer to others over the years, and what you are recieving now is just a small piece of the payback you deserve for that.
I'm praying for you and your family, and I know that God will continue to care for you, and make things better when the time is right.

Jen Reil said...

I think that's the whole purpose of life- to help others every time we can and to let them help us when we need it too. You're such an inspiration!

Robin said...

Dawn - The ONLY thanks we need is for you to continue being the awesome mom, friend, writer, etc... that you already are. Hold it together the best you can and help those precious kids of yours overcome all they've been thru this past year (and before that even). One day you and the kids'll look back at this in amazement at how you overcame it and became stronger as a family because of it.

Kilian said...

Dawn, you've been paying it forward for years. Now you get to collect a little bit of interest on the mass of capital made up of the joy you have given your readers.

Sherry said...

Thank you for sharing Jackson's drawing. I find it very inspiring. It is very creative. I hope he is feeling better, and that he and Austin are back to their old selves again soon!

JohnR said...

Dawn, Your blog is a bright spot in my email every evening when I need it the most--at the end of the day, when we're all tired and getting the kids to bed and all that craziness. Your attitude and sense of humor are the best. You are a fabulous writer and you deserve the recognition and help from your fans. It makes us feel good to help you out--so thanks for letting us!
Julie R. (no---I have to admit that my husband, JohnR does not actually read your blog;-))

Von said...

Don't know if it will help you, but I'll tell you this story anyway. Here's hoping. I was feeling sorry for myself when I read your post tonight. I felt like my mom and my sisters and brother do nothing but let me down time after time. I want us to be this close family, but they really just care about their own world. Then I read your story about God and the drowning man.

It made me realize how many friends I have who are family. It made me look at my e-mail inbox, really look at it, and see how many friends had sent me "I care notes." God has been sending me special people for years because He knows my family can't be what I need them to be. I just refused to see His hand in it all.

So thanks, for showing me "family."

I wish you peace and hope and stability.

I've read your blog for years. I used to be an e-bay mom too. Boy, was e-bay fun back then. Remember it when?

Mystii said...

OMG I'm still chuckling over the "sucks to be you comment" that you're sure was the only thing Clay heard. Did he pick up on it or did you get lucky?

It hurts to laugh right now because I have a fractured rib. So, tell me again why I'm here? I KNOW I'm going to laugh at some of your posts.

Thank you Dawn.

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