Life's been crazy. I'm doing ok...hopefully post more about that later. I'm in summer classes, so life's been pretty hectic. Today ended week 3 for me. I only have two weeks left for my differential equations (diff eq) class, and five weeks left for my other two classes. Today was really, really long. The last few weeks, the time has been just right for me to study for my weekly diff eq test, and do a few assignments in my other classes. However, next week I have two other tests and two other huge homeworks, along with my diff eq test. I was really starting to stress about how I was going to have time for everything. Would I be able to complete the work in time; would I be able to comprehend and remember all the material; would I have the strength to make it through another tiring week. So. many. worrying. questions.
And then tonight happened. I was at my oncologist Tuesday, and my Child Life Lisa handed me a flier for Dream Night, and suggested I go with the family. Only Rachel, David, and John were available so I RSVPed for us four, and we went tonight. it. was. magical. Just looking at the magnanimity of the event, and all that had been thought of and provided for us, filled my heart to overflowing. I'd like to share a little bit of that magic with you, if I can.
Dream Night was held from 6-8:30, after hours at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. It focus on children with serious medical illnesses or disabilities, and their families. In the Welcome Plaza were several costumed characters, including a Minion, Tiger, Elsa & Anna, Optimus Prime & Bumblebee, Tinker Bell, Snow White, the Fairy Godmother, and many, many more, along with bubble machines. Each character was so friendly and welcoming, and posed for pictures. It was a special treat to see Mr. and Mrs. Webster volunteering there tonight, and their son T.J. as Stripes the Tiger! They have been a huge blessing in my life, and seeing them was a welcome surprise!
Throughout the zoo, there was ample refreshments. There were hot dogs for dinner, and concession stands with cotton candy, slushees, popsicles, pretzels, and water bottles! David and John had a blast eating all that sugar! Ben & Jerry's had also opened for the evening, so that was a special treat!
Near the entrance, there was a fire truck, and other large construction trucks that you could explore! Rachel and I were able to climb on the cement mixer.
We were able to go on the Outback Adventure Train, which we have never done! We were also able to go on the carousel. It was so fun to see the joy of kids in wheelchairs as they were able to ride tonight! One girl kept clapping her hands, and her face looked like it would burst with joy! The tram was also running all night. The tram drivers were so friendly and helpful, making sure everyone was able to get where they wanted to go.
One of the highlights of our night was getting to see Georgia and Christina Nixon, who we met at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH). It was really fun to get to hang out with them, and meet several other RMH residents and end our night together.
Usually I don't enjoy going to the zoo. Walking everywhere, usually in the heat, is quite tiring, and the more tired I am the grumpier I get. Tonight was special because everything had been planned with the intention of accomodating everyone. Also, God provided a beatufiul temperature, and held of the rain!
Although I am tired, I was able to enjoy the zoo. For two reasons. First, the volunteers helped me to enjoy the night. So many people helped out. They gave up their Friday night, to dress up in a costume, or serve slushees, or drive a tram. Each and every one of them had a big smile on, and was eager to assist in any way they could. If you have the time, volunteer somewhere. Find a cause you care about, and just give 2 hours out of your week to further that cause. There is always a need for volunteers, and places are usually willing to train you to best assist them. If you don't have the time right now, donate money. Dream night was provided at no charge thanks to the generous sponsorship of many organizations. Whether you give time or money, remember it is more blessed to give, than to receive.
Secondly, everyone seemed to be moving at a more leisurely pace; usually I feel like people at the zoo are trying to take pictures of as many animals as possible, as fast as possible. Today, it was about enjoying life. Taking the time to watch the bear get up from behind the tree trunk. Enjoying the tussle of two young kangaroos. STicking out slushee colored tongues. Dancing in the plaza. RUnning after the bubbles. I think each family there realized that life was a gift. Tonight was a night to enjoy nature, and each other. Life is a gift to us all. No matter where you are in your life, as long as you have breath, you can find a reason to be grateful. Take a moment and count your blessings. Do a random act of kindness, to bless someone else's day. No matter how hectic life may seem, be grateful you are able to do your work or school or housework. Somewhere in a hospital is a person wishing that they could worry about work deadlines, school tests, or household messes. But they can't. They have to worry if they'll have the strength to get out of bed; the energy to cook dinner; or if they will live. So count your blessings, and you will be encouraged.
Well it's pretty late, and I'm pretty tired, so sweet dreams :)