Monday, October 5, 2015

In Gratitude

From the first day we seriously considered opening a library, we have been aware that we were insufficient for such an undertaking. We were right, for it has only been the generosity and kindness of others that has made the opening and operation of the library possible. As we carry on in its tenth year, we can clearly see the hand of God who has assisted and supported us week to week along the way.

But occasionally, if not frequently, we stop and marvel at the things that have happened beyond our ability and effort. This year is no exception. With the arrival of Emily's second baby in July, we wanted to be realistic about what two of us could physically do and decided to cut back on the number of families we would permit to participate in order to serve them well. There are many hours of work we give to the smooth running of the library outside of the two days a month we are open for circulation. Even with careful planning and use of our time, we often find ourselves overwhelmed, behind, and a little weary. Checking in a book, returning it to its shelf, and checking out another is simple, but multiply that by one to two thousand books in five hours and you can only guess at the monumental task. Then, think of 20 families with approximately a total of 75 children in the midst of that undertaking each week, most of whom have many requests for help, and you can get a clearer picture of what a library day is like.

That God knows our need, as I said, has always been apparent, but this year He has blessed us above and beyond our wildest dreams. Nicole Williams, mother of three who drives 20 miles to our library and has been a member for several years, volunteered to give us a hand. I don't know how much free time you have in your week, but if you are homeschooling three children and keeping your family in order, probably not very much. Still, she informed us that she intended to come every library day to help with whatever we needed. She sorts and organizes books as they come in and helps moms find what they are looking for, scans in and out books and has a smile for everyone the entire time. Her gift is incalculable. She now shares our happy exhaustion at the end of a library day, but cannot possibly fathom how much she is helping to bear our burden.

Simultaneous with this joyful gift to us, another mom in the library volunteered to drive her daughter Susanna to the library and return to pick her up at the end of the day, a total of 75 miles of driving for this mom who is also managing a busy household with 11 other children still at home. Susanna is gifted with superb quickness to learn and efficiency with checking books in and out with the computer. If she gets a breather from this almost nonstop task, she jumps up to lend a hand wherever she sees a need.

Can you imagine what a difference these two friends are making in our work this year? Emily is not only free to handle questions of moms and children who come, but to care for her own two babies who are always in the thick of it with us. The entire day has become a team effort and we have a lot of fun and many rewarding conversations as we work.

For all these things, we publicly give thanks, knowing our own hearts are full of gratitude, but hoping to encourage other book lovers and library fans to join with us in honoring these two selfless helpers and the God, our Helper in all things who has put this generosity into their hearts.

From Ourselves by Charlotte Mason, I close with these words regarding gratitude:
"How good and glad it is to be grateful! The joy is not merely that we have received a favour or a little kindness which speaks of goodwill and love, but that a beautiful thing has come out of some other person's beautiful heart for us; and joy in that other's beauty of character gives more delight than any gain or pleasure which can come to us from favours. We lose this joy often enough because we are too self-absorbed to be aware of kindness, or are too self-complacent to think any kindness more than our desert...
A kindness is like a flower that has bloomed upon you unawares, and to be on the watch for such flowers adds very much to our joy in other people, as well as to the happy sense of being loved and cared for."
For the joy of reading,


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