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Hope and Friendship Lesson Learned: What to offer a broken heart? Brownies!

October 16, 2013

“Everybody is worth your time. You never know. You may have been the last hope that person needed to renew their faith in people or God.” ~  Shannon L. Alder



Parents buried their 25 year old son today.  Tomorrow I will pay my respects to friends who suddenly lost the patriarch of their family.   I knew him and was inspired by his love of living, dedication and commitment to his family and his faith.  A couple weeks ago a mom lost her adult son.  She was one of our mission stay visits.  Actually she was a couple of our visits because we were so drawn to her “story”.  I reached out to her when I was made aware of neighbor’s complaints of her not keeping up on her landscaping and exterior of her home.  This woman, not much more than a sparrow of size and statue herself, had been thrust into a life commitment that was not in the “original parenting contract”, her adult son had been in an accident.  Like a few of the households in our corner of the world, the portion of their insurance that helps to cover rehabilitation and facility care had run out.  Three years ago she became a full time care taker to her 36 year old son who was bed-ridden and unresponsive, yet alive.  The first day I met her face to face I arrived with a small army of compassionate friends who came to offer unconditional and un-judging assistance and love.  She cried, so did I.  We mowed, weeded, rebuilt a deck, tended to her trees and bushes and left the property and her better off for having offered a bit of TLC.  She fell ill recently and was hospitalized.  Nearly died.  When she went into hospital care so did her son.  He survived two weeks.  For three years she tended to him, dedicated herself 100% to his care and kept him alive.  Proof of that?  She was battling a life threatening illness to get out of the hospital to get back to caring for him, he didn’t survive two weeks without her. 


In the past 8 years I have found that there are losses that rock you even when you don’t intimately know those that you have loss.  However, I know their story and I became caught up in rooting for them to have a happy comeback from their setback. 



As you can tell I’m feeling a bit solemn tonight thinking about those in homes in our community who are grieving.  It is not my style to just sit so I want to take action and am inviting you to join me. 



One of the very first acts of kindness that Hope and Friendship offered was to a senior citizen. I had lost my father and was feeling the need to reach out to those who were grieving.  One of the pastors had emailed me in response to my email to all pastors to let me know of losses.  He told me of a widow whose dog had died.  That doesn’t sound severe to most but when you think about a person who had experienced one of the most painful losses in their life, the loss of their spouse, then  you understand that the one constant in their life that offered them unconditional love and attention was now gone the severity seems pretty clear.  So after thought and prayer I offered a gift that I thought might bring a smile to a very saddened spirit:  brownies.  At that time my son was 16.  I was blessed to be the house that his amazing group of friends hung out at so with them joining me, I drove the Durango to this house with five 16 year old young men.  I gave them a pan of brownies, a plant I bought (something that needed to be cared for), and a card with the words:

“So sorry for your loss.  Just wanted you to know that you are in the thoughts,

heart and prayers of friends who care about you.  Wishing you peace & love, Hope and Friendship”


The boys left the Durango like Army Rangers, staying low to the ground and out of sight.  They placed the plant, card and brownies at the door, rang the bell and raced to the car.  All I heard was “Go, go, go” and when I heard the doors closed we rolled forward.  No need for us to be seen, after all “Acts of Kindness” are pretty powerful when they are done with no agenda and no expectation of thanks, and no need for recognition.  I heard later from the pastor that the gifts were so very much appreciated and received with great surprise and joy.  The boys were hooked and committed many more random and anonymous acts of kindness with me.  Every one of them has grown to be amazing young men who still offer their support to Hope and Friendship and to continuing these acts of kindness. 


“Go, go, go” forward and lift broken spirits. 



So tonight as I sit here and grieve for some of my “friends” who have suffered such painful losses I am remembering the roots of Hope and Friendship and feel it’s time to bring that back.  After all I delight in the term that I have used for Hope and Friendship:  “grass roots”.  If we are not working at the roots of needs here in our community how can we possibly expect to nourish strong branches that will reach out to everyone we can? 



When I know of a loss of a loved one, something to celebrate (a homecoming for one of our military), or a day to commemorate (Veterans Day, Valentines Day- Warm a Heart Lift a Spirit) I will have a card or a drop box in the lobby of the Lemont Police Station (on the North Windowed wall) to involve anyone who wishes to reach out with me.   Feel free to drop pick me up cards anytime you wish and I will personally deliver them to homebound or sick in our community.  Tomorrow, I will have three consolation cards in the Police Station Lobby and will leave them there through Monday.  I will then deliver the cards and an offering of homemade brownies to the three homes I spoke of.  It sounds so simplistic as I type it out but I know that this outreach will quietly instill in a grieving friend’s heart and broken spirit that they are in the thoughts and prayers of a community of friends who care. 



I look forward to spreading some powerfully compassionate ripples of simple, yet pure and genuine, love and goodwill from friends to friends.  xoxoxo


Email me at with any ideas or questions. 


Visit for more information or to support Hope and Friendship. 



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