There have been many, many beautiful, kind, and selfless acts of service performed in Susan’s name since she disappeared. People have served meals to the homeless…brought Christmas to those who couldn’t afford it…and some have even decided to do some extra kind of service every single day in honor of Susan.
When Chuck and Judy Cox asked everyone before Christmas to “perform an act of service in Susan’s name” by January 1, many people heeded this call and made others’ lives more beautiful…more hopeful…more full of faith. Many of these people we don’t even know about because they chose to selflessly serve without recognition. Many others shared just a little about their service with us, and all of our lives were made richer as we read of these kindnesses in Susan’s name.
My own act was surely the smallest of the small, and I have fought with myself over whether or not to post about it here. Normally, I talk about anything I want on my blog, big and small things going on in my life—myself, my kids, my family, things I like and enjoy, my hopes and joys as well as my sorrows and hardships. That is, after all, what a personal blog is for…for the blogger to share about his/her life and interests and thoughts with family, friends, and interested strangers.
I don’t in any way want this to come across as bragging, though, so I have hesitated to share. But many people have asked, and others have no doubt wondered…so I decided to share…but in the form of a short story ending in pictures.
Once there was a girl who loved many things…reading, writing, playing the piano and Irish whistle, gardening, forests, family. She had a close, wonderful family who helped her learn and grow and develop her mind and talents. They taught her respect for God, nature, and other people as she grew, and supported her in her journey through life. One thing she always struggled with, though, was her feelings about her looks.
The one thing she liked about her physical appearance was her hair. It was an amazing color—in the sun it looked like dark golden honey, so beautiful and shiny and healthy. When she was an adult she finally succeeded in a life-long wish: to grow her hair down past her waist. She would only admit it to herself, but she loved her hair…so much.
This girl had a friend who she became very close to. They did everything together…laugh, talk for hours, watch movies, play with their kids, take walks, go on bike rides, play with hair. Her friend gave her many haircuts (trims really) and her friend always, always tried to convince her to cut her hair off and donate it to Locks of Love.
“It’s such a wonderful cause,” her friend said, “And you have SO much hair. It’ll grow back. And I want to see how your hair looks, shorter.” (After all, her friend was a professional hairdresser, and loved to give people makeovers.)
The girl knew she was being selfish, refusing to donate her hair. But she just couldn’t. She loved it too much. She always answered her friend by saying yes, it IS a wonderful charity. But I just can’t do it.
One day her friend disappeared, seemingly without a trace. The girl’s life—and the lives of her family and friends—was turned upside down. Nothing was the same. Grief and heartbreak were now her constant companions, along with worry and fear, fighting with hope and faith. The days were very long and the nights even longer. Sleep wouldn’t come. She missed her friend so much that she could hardly bear it.
When her friend’s family put out a “call to service” in their daughter’s name, the girl knew she was already spending hundreds of hours a week in every way she could think of to find her friend. She wanted to do a specific act of service, but didn’t know how to fit in the time to do it.
Then, on January 1, she thought of something she could do. Something very, very small, and meaning nothing to anyone but herself, her family, and her friend…but something that her friend would understand and be happy about if she knew.
It was very hard. She cried all the way there and all the way back and for many hours that night. It wasn’t just the act itself—it was all the feelings wrapped up in it, and the reason she was doing it.
20 inches later…
I love you, Susan. WE WILL FIND YOU.
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