Saturday, December 27, 2008


December 27, 2008

I want to send thank you notes. I really do. I just don't know where to begin.

There are at least seventy-seven contributors who gave up lunch for Erin's Lunch for Life tree (1147 ornaments this morning!) and even more who have joined The Erin Project. More astonishing? I don't know them all and will never meet many of them.

We average around 450-500 drop-ins to the website every day, not counting the couple of you who click on the link every time you walk past your computer. Individuals, groups, and whole congregations around the world pray for us.

Erin receives beautiful and thoughtful gifts year-round from people, some of whom we've never met and most of whom we can never reciprocate. I can't even name them all for fear that through sheer oversight, I would leave out some dear and valued friend of Erin. Our friends give up their time, their talent, their hearts for us.

An even bigger gift flows from the thousands of tiny stitches that each of you add to the fabric of our lives every time you see us, smile with us, pat us on the back, hug us, drop us a line, teach us, learn from us, and in a myriad of ways, add to the richness of our experience.

Finally, you have given me the the most special gift I could ever receive, the gift of grace: my own realization that I can't ever repay you AND that even though I can't repay you nor do I deserve your gift, I can accept it with the same graciousness as you give it. For someone who used to think she was self-sufficient for all practical purposes, this has been the hardest and most profound gift to accept that I have ever received in my life.
I tend to want to pick up the tab, to make sure I pay when it's my turn, and to return favors as soon as I get the chance. Yet now I have so many debts, there can never be a reckoning. All I can hope is to learn from your example, and pass these thoughtfulnesses on to others.

All of this is pure alchemy or perhaps like the fairytale of Rumplestiltskin. You have taken what I had and didn't want (lead, a room full of straw, a child with cancer) and turned it into gold.

Please accept our thanks.

But wait. There's more.

If my request for you to join the Erin project collided with Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and you have put it off, use this lull between Christmas and New Year's to send in your entry. Or make it a New Year's resolution that you can keep.


  1. You took the words right out of my is a hard step to go from giver to receiver! I still need to work on my erin project entry, I will consider it my holiday homework assignment! Hope you guys are enjoying your holidays!

  2. vickie, this is so beautiful. i have come back many times, in an attempt to grow my understanding of grace. your description is a gift in and of itself. thank you.
    toby pannone's mom

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  4. Vickie, you are a giver with every post you write. You make me think of the story of the loaves and fishes--you have built with your words a miraculous expression of and banquet for the spirit, a place where even the small offering of a loaf or a fish is so genuinely welcomed. This is made so vivid in the community of people showing their faces now for The Erin Project, who have found a blessing and a balm in your ever extended invitation to come and stand with you and your family. What this has meant to me is truly beyond words.