Today I delivered the first of the 25 gifts for holiday cheer. I want to tell you a bit about our recipient. Debbie is a school teacher, wife and mother of two. She is flat-out utterly amazing. I have always watched her in awe because she lives with her soul shining outside of her whole being. Debbie is uncommonly kind, and by uncommonly I mean in all the years I have known her she has never once said a mean or judgmental thing about another human being not once.
I met Debbie through one of my very best friends – they happen to be cousins. Debbie and I were not close until recently, but I have watched as she has faced so many challenges through the past few years. Debbie’s second born child was born with Velocardiofacial syndrome (VCFS) which is a genetic condition characterized by a combination of medical problems that often vary from child to child. These medical problems can include cleft palate, cardiac problems, feeding difficulties, and learning difficulties. At just a few days old, her son had to undergo open heart surgery. Through his infant and toddler years he had to work harder than most kids his age to walk, talk, and master skills that came easily to others. Debbie never faltered in her strength and ability to push through whatever came their way. Debbie never complained and her soul continued to shine as bright as ever. She parented and continues to parent her children with grace and beauty – she has a way of making everything look so easy; probably because she does everything with such great joy.
Her son is now doing incredibly well – no one would know about his troubled beginning unless they were there to see it themselves. But Debbie was not spared too many moments of peace and calm because her mother was diagnosed and succumbed to cancer just a few short years ago. I cannot even begin to imagine or attempt to put into words what that was like for her. But I can tell you what I witnessed in her, Debbie faced all of that dark time with grace, strength, and with her heart still wide open to the world.
And you would think that the universe would have thrown enough at this woman who embraced all that life had to offer good bad and otherwise with strength, dignity, and grace. But unfortunately no, just a little over a month ago her younger sister, mother of a 3-year-old son, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Debbie helped take care of her nephew, was and is at her sister’s side through everything, and thankfully her sister’s prognosis is good. And I am praying for her and all her family’s sake that this is the beginning of a quiet boring several years for her family.
But because of all this and because she is such a wonderful woman, who always makes others feel better just by being near; I knew she needed to be a recipient and have a little extra cheer this year. I wanted her to know how much she inspires people just by waking up every day and living her life; how because she exists the world is a better, brighter place.
I love you, Debbie and I am so thankful that I know you.