I have some thoughts on intentions that I wanted to share!
One evening, about six years ago, I took dinner to my friend and her family. They had just welcomed a new baby into their family. I really wanted to help in some way, and bringing dinner seemed just the thing. Now picture this: a pregnant Jacquie walking up the stairs to their house, carrying a heavy tray filled with homemade spaghetti sauce, meatballs, pasta, veggies and dessert.
Did I mention I was pregnant and emotional and stressed? Making dinner was something I wanted to do for others, but it was always a stressful to-do. I would worry if the dinner would be tasty, or if I made enough. And at this stage of my life six years ago, I’d worry about the timing of dinner delivery because I had a one year old boy who had an inconvenient tendency to fall asleep on drives in the evenings. If he slept for even five minutes, it would affect his bedtime and he wouldn’t fall asleep until close to 10 pm. Thus, affecting my quiet time in the evenings, and I think we all understand the sacred nature of adult time sans children. Plus, I knew the mess that was awaiting me in the kitchen. I didn’t clean up as I went, like I do now. All these little worries added up and I wouldn’t be the kindest or calmest person to my family. But I digress.
Somehow, while walking with a tray in hand, I tripped up the stairs, fell down, causing the food to go flying. The spaghetti and meatballs painted my neighbour’s light coloured stairs and their gray stucco exterior. Did I mention they lived in a newly built home? It was a disaster! I felt awful, both physically and emotionally and I started to cry. Like really. I tried to do something nice for this family and I ended up not only ruining the dinner, but I was convinced I ruined their house, too. Plus, I still needed to feed my kids. And I had that worry that my baby fell asleep amidst this “quick” meal delivery.
My friend came out because she heard the ruckus. She was so gracious, and even found the humour in it all. I sure didn’t. I profusely apologized about the mess and for the lack of dirt-free dinner. Between tears, I was able to call my husband Keegan and tell him what happened. I was a hot mess and wasn’t thinking clearly. Keegan was also gracious to his irrational wife and said he’d leave work early and grab some pizzas on the way home. Could I have ordered pizza from a restaurant in the town I live and have them deliver? Absolutely. Did I see that as an option amidst my whole world crashing down around me? Nope. I was trapped in a glass case of emotion. (Name that quote.)
The end result wasn’t what any of us expected, but I knew my friend still felt of my love. She knew of my intentions. However, even with my good intentions, the whole ordeal was an inconvenience for all parties involved, especially for my friend’s husband, who insisted he’d clean off the mess instead of me or Keegan doing it. And before it all froze. I’m so grateful for people being able to see what’s in my heart and not necessarily what’s in the finished product.
Now onto the next story. I went to Costco last week and saw the Lite Brite toy on sale. I loved that toy when I was a kid! Seeing it transported me back to when I bought the Lite Brite for my nephew Jack when he was around 5. (He is now 21.) I was so excited to give it as a gift! I loved it, so I assumed he would, too. Jim, who is Jack’s dad and my brother, told me years later the truth about that gift. At the time of this particular gift-giving, Jack was at the age where commercials were still a thing. None of this streaming or PVR business where you can bypass commercials. You had to watch them the old fashioned way. Apparently, every time Jack saw a toy commercial during the Christmas season, he’d mention how he wanted that advertised toy for Christmas. But when the Lite Brite commercial came on, he didn’t make a sound. Not a peep. It was pretty much the one toy he didn’t have interest in. My intentions were good; I wanted to give a gift to my nephew. After learning the truth about my beloved Lite Brite, I felt disappointed and a tad embarrassed. I can laugh about it now, and see how my good intentions didn’t have the outcome I thought they would. But hopefully, my nephew still felt of my love!
When I saw a whole pallet of Lite Brites at Costco last week, I was still drawn to them. I wanted one. Surprisingly, my kids did, too. I didn’t end up buying one, but maybe they’ll get one for Christmas. Then I’ll be able to relive more glory days!
There will be instances in our lives when we have good intentions but do not act on them. I’ve been trying harder than ever to act on my first impression to do something. (Read about that HERE.) But I’m not perfect. I really missed the boat in this next story I’ll share. It’s a tender topic, but I still want to share.
Henry (not his real name) was a senior gentleman in my town who walked miles every day. He fascinated me. No matter the weather, he was walking. Throughout the duration of a few years, I got to know him a little better. Whenever I’d see him around town, we’d chat a little. I learned that he was a widower and walked so much to fill up his days.
I felt the impression quite a few times to invite Henry over to our house for dinner. I finally decided to take action and called my sister to get his number. He was in her ward (a church congregation). I was ready to invite him over. I got excited thinking about where we’d go from there. Would he be receptive to our invitation? Would he eventually become like an adoptive grandpa? I didn’t expect my sister’s response at all. She told me that Henry had died just a few days earlier. My heart was so sad for lots of reasons. One reason was for the missed opportunity. I put those nudges to the back burner for years. And now it was too late. I had a good cry for his family, our community and for me and my family. For the “what ifs”. I eventually realized that he was reunited with his sweetheart and that he wasn’t alone anymore. That offered me some comfort, but didn’t take away my guilt. This experience taught a valuable lesson: act on those good intentions. Even if the end result isn’t what you intended! In this case, even if the end result wasn’t what I wanted, and he didn’t accept my invitation, at least Henry would have known that he mattered to me.
I’m not trying to be all doom and gloom with this last story. I just wanted to share this hard lesson I learned. Sometimes there are expiration dates to our opportunities. The good news is that, for the most part, regardless of the end result, people can see the intentions of our heart. I’m so grateful for that. Thank heavens, literally, for a loving father in heaven who ALWAYS sees our intentions, no matter the finished product. Sometimes I feel so misunderstood, but God always gets me. (I have some stories to share about that HERE.) Hopefully, we can all give a little more grace to ourselves and to those people in our lives when our/their end result leaves much to be desired.
P.S. I still enjoy taking dinner to people when it’s helpful, but I started to realize the stress it sometimes puts on me, and inadvertently my family. When I am mindful and know that a homemade meal wouldn’t be conducive to a peaceful evening, I’ll buy dinner for the family. Gasp! You read that right. Rotisserie chicken, buns, bagged salad and a treat. Boom. Done. Everyone wins. I’ve also been on a chicken pot pie kick lately because of how symbolic it is to me. Read about that HERE.)