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The last few days I had a very slight inkling of something in the air--maybe!

Yesterday I had driven up to Huntsville in a snow storm for a meeting. Lana Joy and I decided not to stay for lunch, but head for home.

A little way down the highway I realized that the blue tooth ear piece for my phone was missing and I had a feeling I knew where I had dropped it. When I got to Orillia and dropped Lana Joy off, I called my boss. In a jiffy he was outside looking for it and found it in a snow bank.

He said, "Don't worry, I'll give it to you when I see you--sometime."

Then there was Susan. We had a support meeting scheduled for this morning but she emailed me over the weekend to ask if I would help her pick out new glasses at 11.15 and then she asked if she could have her support meeting over lunch at The Buttery--her treat.

I forgot to reply to that email, and she emailed me again and said, "You never told me if you could have lunch." She's not usually that persistent if I forget something; she'd be more likely to forget right along with me.

So this morning I said to Paul, "I'm going out for lunch with Susan at The Buttery. You know I'm wondering. It just might be my 25th anniversary party."

"Isn't that a bit vain, thinking that? And I hope they would invite me if it was your party," he said indignantly.

And so it was that I found myself at the mall helping Susan pick out glasses. Susan, who kept surreptitiously glancing at her watch.

As we walked to my car in the parking lot, I asked, "So, what made you choose The Buttery for lunch?"

Susan raved about the caesar salad with the anchovies in the dressing.

We walked into the restaurant. "Table for two?" inquired the hostess.

"Yes...I think so," said Susan, her eyes casting around the restaurant.

And then I saw them--my entire team was there,and the District Office team, and my long time friend and co-worker, Irene, who now leads a team in another district. And there sat Paul, mightily pleased with himself for helping with the surprise!

I sat down beside my boss, in the chair with the balloons, and there was my blue tooth ear piece, waiting for me. It was all perfect.

My anniversary was actually on January 1st, but we have all been so busy, and then I had the crisis with my mum. But suddenly here I was with some of my favourite people in the world, and celebrating.

Irene told some hilarious stories from our years of working together, about my serious lack of bargaining skills, and about the time time I could not be convinced that the message on my pager from someone speaking Chinese, was not her playing a joke on me.

My boss tried to make a speech but was overcome by emotion. He has a tender heart; a quality that is very touching. My team gave cards with loving messages and overwhelmed me with too many gifts, which I will treasure even more for the love that lay behind them.

I can't believe that 25 years have gone by so fast. And how many people get to count each of their team as a dear friend?

Things don't change much in my life. Married for 40 years this year; same church for 34 years--and 25 years in the same organization. My friends can't shake me off either. But there is a richness of a certain sort in doing life this way. I am so very grateful.


Happy Anniversary! 25 years of service to people with disabilities. 25 years of witnessing change. 25 years of the privilege of being in another's life. I remember you from many years ago as well, I was a new consultant and you a new supervisor. Could it be that we were ever that young? (is this 25 years with CH, or 25 years of working with people with disabilities?)
Belinda said…
Hey Dave, it's 25 years with CH. Before that we lived with people with disablilities for 10 years, so I have had the privilege of sharing people's lives for, oh my goodness, 35 years!!! Yikes! Living with people was the best training in the world; the best foundation and shaping of my philiosphy of working with poeple. I learned to be family before I learned to be staff. I plan to write more about this, but I just couldn't put it in one blog post!
Joyful Fox said…

I celebrate with you for your 25 years. Those that are your friends, those that you work with, those like me, you have worked with in the past, and are still your friend, really says so much of who you are.

You are loyal, seeking the good in others, helping them to shine, pointing out the strengths when they get discouraged. You help them to grow by your constant belief in the image of Christ in them. You wash feet, like Jesus did. You are a servant leader. For the 10 years I worked with you, I learned more of Christ's love because of you. I don't work for CH anymore but I regularly know your love in so many real ways.

Belinda, the expression of love you received is a testament of the love you faithfully give. I am so glad you found joy in the celebration of your 25 years.

I lift my glass from my new ministry of home and serving my children and my husband, knowing much of the service I do in this home, I was taught by a fabulous teacher. Like a pebble thrown into the water, the ripples of a person in service of you, go on to touch and affect many.

I love you Belinda and blessings on the 25th anniversary of service with CH. May you shine on!
Belinda said…
Dear Joyful,
I love you too--but you know that! Thank you for your words. The greatest joy of my work is knowing and loving so many people--just people. God has a vested interest in people and if we miss that in our work, perhaps we miss the point.
Marilyn said…
40, 34 and 25 years -YOU are a rarity these days! Very impressive, Belinda! I'm glad they pulled off the surprise!
Meg said…
Wonderful story, Belinda. I am not surprised at such love for you!! Thank you so much for embracing me and keeping me in your circle.

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