I just returned home after spending the past 5 days in Tampa at Camp Widow. Soaring Spirits International is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and this was our 20th Camp. If this Tampa Camp is any indication, 2018 is going to be a spectacular year for the Soaring Spirits family.
I attended my first Camp Widow in San Diego in August 2011, just 11 months after Vern died. I had no idea then that I would end up attending every subsequent Camp (this was #18 for me!) and that I'd be asked to join the Leadership Team. So many wonderful people I've met through the years. So many lovely memories.
It's difficult to think there can be blessings that come our way after losing our loves, but this group of women is surely a blessing that would not have happened if Vern were still here with me. I am grateful for each one of them.
We start each Camp with a team meeting where we set our intentions and share our hopes for the coming days. Grace was in abundance. And we end each Camp with another team meeting where we share our favorite moments from Camp. There are so many of those moments and it's very hard to limit ourselves to sharing just one, but this was mine:
I met Rebekah in Widowed Village in November 2015. She arrived less than a month after the tragic loss of her husband while on vacation in Bora Bora. We shared a lot of time in the Village chat room and she came to the Tampa 2016 Camp just 4 months later. Seeing her transformation at that Camp was my favorite moment that year and she gave me another favorite when she surprised me at this Camp. I heard her calling my name in the crowded ballroom and she gave me the best and longest hug ever. It filled my heart. But that wasn't all she did.
After we did our beautiful message release, the music and dancing started. I found myself out on the dance floor with some friends and then there was Jason (Rebekah's boyfriend) asking me to dance. I chuckled and said something like Rebekah must have promised you something wonderful if you would do this. And this sweet young man said 'No, I just want to dance with a beautiful woman.' Well, my goodness, how could I possibly respond with a 'not nice to Dianne' comment? So I just said 'thank you'. We don't play slow songs at Camp - and I can't even remember what song was playing - but Jason took me in his arms and danced with me. He even twirled me a time or two. But the best thing? He held my hand. Not just the way you do when you dance with someone ... but he intertwined his fingers with mine. Just like Vern did. I thought my heart might burst and I knew that sweet Rebekah surely must have read my blog or Facebook post about missing having my hand held. What a lovely gift of kindness those few minutes were.I'm sure my little moment on that dance floor might not seem like much to many of you, but it's the little things that matter, you know. Rebekah noticed. She saw me. She heard me. And she asked her guy to do something very kind for this ol' gal. I am grateful.
What can you do to make someone's day? Are you listening? Are you noticing? Do you really see them?