"I count my blessings"

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InnBloom

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I took a reservation this evening from a woman who had called a couple of times talking about booking a weekend January 20-21 with a girlfriend, but she wasn't sure which room. Wasn't sure the girlfriend would actually be coming. Didn't want to wait too long to get a good room. Etc. Etc.
When she called this evening, I was irked that DH gave me the phone as I was trying to get out the door to a Christmas celebration at Mom's assisted living facility, rather than taking the call himself. I was frazzled, late, annoyed--- and I felt it took a lot of inner strength to be friendly, and charmingly professional, on the phone. Turns out the girlfriend hadn't committed yet to meet her, so she just booked the room she liked.
I was blindsided a bit later at the Christmas celebration to find out that I was suddenly very emotional about missing my dad, who died in April. As we listened to a woman sing, I was suddenly in tears. As she moved into "I count my blessings" from White Christmas, I dried my eyes and checked the email on my phone to "cover"....and this is the first part of the email I read from that woman:

Hi "InnBloom": It was a pleasure speaking with you this afternoon and I am so looking forward to meeting you and your husband!! (Your inn) looks and sounds like just what I need. I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and will be starting chemotherapy this Thursday )-: I was told that by my birthday, which is January 21st, that I'll be bald; I'm simply praying that I will not be sick. I'm looking forward to bringing a good book and sitting by the fireplace just relaxing....
That sure didn't help stifle the waterworks.
So maybe later -- not now -- I'll ask you all for advice about how to make a nice weekend for a sick guest. Or maybe I'll vent about the lady who cancelled at the last minute because she was too sick to come. But for now, I just thought I'd pass along the idea of counting our blessings, and realizing that we really do represent a refuge in a storm for some of our guests.
And finally, I'll pass along the 'signature message' on her email. I don't consider myself a religious woman, but I loved this and hope you don't mind my sharing it:
To some, the Lord would say, there is an ember of coal burning within your heart. It is only an ember, a little brightness. But, I say unto you stir up, stir up those coals and let the fire burn. Stir up. Call upon the wind of God to blow on that small ember that is within you and bring it to a flame; bring the fire to a fullness.
 

gillumhouse

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I firmly believe there is a reason for everything and everything has a reason. Some guests come here because they have a "message" for me - some information to impart that neither of us knew they needed to impart it and some guests come for the "message" we have to give them.
A guest told us about post-polio syndrome because my husband had polio and turns out was in the early stages of it at that time. We in turn were able to "lift the weight of the world" from a returning guest by telling her about post-polio symdrome (she had been told her problem was all in her head) - and we were right. The guests dealing with family and a funeral that we give a a refuge to (just got a Christmas card thanking us for doing that), the guests making journeys - some happy, some necessary but not wanted that we welcome and provide comfortable surroundings. We are where we are and doing what we do because people need us to be where & what we are for many, many reasons that we often will never know but it was important that we were there. We listen when they need to talk - that is more helpful than you know, just to be able to vebalize. That smile and cheerful Good Morning whether acknowledged or not may make all the difference in the world.
I know I am blessed.
 

JBloggs

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I sincerely thank you for sharing this. My sister just had a masectomy, she is 47. She has a 10 year old and college student, she was getting engaged when she found out the cancer was back, she is now without this man. The emotions run strong, wanting to help, knowing there is nothing I can do really, but be a friend and love her. There is distance between us (miles).
I don't want you to get emotionally tied to this guest Innbloom, I think that is not fair on you. I wish for you to treat her as you treat all your guests, with kindness and hospitality and not follow up and befriend her. I know that sounds harsh, but I don't think I could take too much intimacy with a person I don't even know. Or maybe, this will be easier than I am thinking since you don't know her. She will feel comfor being at your inn, I know that. All the best Innbloom.
 

ukmaineiac

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Love your post and understand. As you may have gathered I'm stupidly sentimental and weepy right now. I think this time of year we're all trying so hard to be joyous (and I am) but it's also a time of reflection and remembering those we love whether they are here, gone or simply too far away. There are so many people I want to help, so many people I wish were still here and so many people I wish were right here right now.
 

Madeleine

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I have a hs aquaintance who is literally dying online. What she wants? Normalcy. (That and a handful of really serious pain meds.) Up until this past week when the cancer literally ate through a bone she has been living her life as best she can, going out with her family, planning events and such.
Should your guest be ok to come, honor the fortitude with normalcy. Some people want to talk about it and some people just want to pretend that nothing has changed.
 

gillumhouse

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Love your post and understand. As you may have gathered I'm stupidly sentimental and weepy right now. I think this time of year we're all trying so hard to be joyous (and I am) but it's also a time of reflection and remembering those we love whether they are here, gone or simply too far away. There are so many people I want to help, so many people I wish were still here and so many people I wish were right here right now..
I just got a package with a box of Taylor's of Harrogate - I wish we were close enough to share it right now.
For those who are no longer here to hug, I celebrate that they were in my life to help make me who and what I am today. And sometimes those I celebrate are people who barely brushed my life but made a huge difference in it and in me.
 

Samster

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Be yourself, Innbloom, and share your gift of hospitality and hope with this guest and she'll be glad that she decided to stay with you!
 
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