Someone needs your light: a lesson on brightening people's days and shining from the heart
“This is for you!” she said, holding out a box, decorated in yellow ribbon. Inside were a bunch of goodies - everything yellow, and on the top of the box was a handwritten note of encouragement on yellow paper, "I wanted to do something to put a smile on your face and remind you how special you are... I hope this box of sunshine can lift your spirits and help you get through any times when skies are grey."
My sister gave me that box years ago, at a time that I really needed some extra sunshine. Despite my husband working tons and tons of hours and being away from my son and I most evenings and weekends, we were still struggling financially and living paycheck to paycheck. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it felt awfully close to it. I was struggling to see any light at the end of the tunnel.
This isn’t the first time my sister has come to my rescue, and I know it won’t be the last. To be honest, she’s been there for me more times than I can count. On top of being my sister, she’s often my grocery shopper, event planner for my kids’ birthdays, emergency babysitter, and my biggest cheerleader. Even growing up, my little sister was always the braver, stronger, and more capable of the two of us. I’ve looked up to her all my life and relied on her strength and compassion just as long.
While I wish I didn’t require rescuing so often, I wish even more that I didn’t have so many limitations making it feel so impossible to ever return the favor. Especially on a day like today. Her plate is beyond full. And while she’s acting as general contractor for her new home, her little ones are sick for the millionth time this season, and she’s caring for my grandma during her recovery from surgery… always giving. That’s just how she lives.
Years later, I still have her yellow handwritten note. It’s special to me, and reminds me how lucky I am to have such an amazing sister. But as I hold it in my hands today, I see a new message in her familiar handwriting. On a day I feel heavy with disappointment and frustration at my inability to do something more and on a day I feel mostly useless, her sunshine reminds me that a little bit of sunshine can go a long way. And that light can brighten any amount of darkness, whether it’s perfect or not, shining bright or just gently glowing.
That day she stood on my doorstep, box of sunshine in hand, she wasn’t my husband and she couldn’t give me an extra paycheck, no matter how much she wanted to. But she came to my rescue anyway. She found a way to brighten my day and make me feel less alone. In a simple act, she gave me love and support at a time I felt lonely and life felt dark.
Bits of sunshine
So today, after literally years of holding this heart and soul project inside me, I’m bringing it to life. No more waiting or holding off. No more hesitation. The time to serve is today. The time to shine is today. The time to be there for my sister is today - even if my body insists that it be here from bed in my own home. To my sweet sister, I told you about this project months and months ago, and you encouraged me and cheered me on like you always do. I know this won’t make your day much easier. I know it isn’t the same as walking through your door and taking care of lunch or scooping up your sick kids and tucking you in bed for a much needed nap. :) I know this isn’t how I want to help today, but you’re too important to me to not do anything. So here’s my way of saying, “I love you, and I’m here for you.” I’m soaking in your sunshine and, in my own tiny way, doing my part to spread it further.
And to you who sees pain in a loved one and doesn’t know how to help...
To you who sees struggles and hardships you don’t know how to fix...
To you who wants to go rushing to the rescue, but feels you can’t - the distance too far or the journey impossible right now...
There is light inside you that someone else needs. Don’t wait. Don't listen to your self doubt or insecurities. Don’t let the need for perfection stop you. Don’t just apologize for what you can’t do and can’t give. Connect with that unique light within you and shine. Brighten their day in the best way you can. And have hope that like my sister’s note, no matter how small it is, sunshine keeps on giving.
If spreading some sunshine into the world looks like a note in the mail, words of encouragement with a plate of cookies or hot meal, or maybe the handwritten words, “I love you!”, I hope you’ll consider my brand new printable notecards, Bits of Sunshine. These notecards have been on my heart a long time, and I couldn’t be happier to finally be bringing them to life.
The best part? All profits will be donated to The Christmas Box House, an organization dedicated to children who have been abused, neglected or are facing homelessness - a cause that’s near and dear to my sister’s heart. A little bit of sunshine really can go a long way :) Head here to check out the notecards!