Sam spent the weekend in Louisiana with some members of our ward, helping with hurricane relief.
It would be fascinating to me to know the administrative details in how the Church assesses the need for help, assigns congregations to specific areas (in this case, we are 5 hours away from where he was working), provides meals for volunteers (and of course bright yellow T-Shirts!), distributes volunteers throughout the city, and gets the job done.
He wasn't privy to all those details, but he had a good time working like crazy for a couple of days, cutting up a number of massive trees that had fallen throughout the city.
Unfortunately, he brought home some pretty nasty souvenirs.
In addition to large cuts all over his legs from tree branches, he has a horrible, blistering poison ivy rash around one ankle. His ankle is hugely swollen and he came home in a lot of pain.
He says it's worth the risk to wear shorts while working in the heat.
(I begged a selfie out of him and he obliged in spite of the fact that taking pictures is very, very low on his priority list when there is a job to get done.)
I'm always struck, when Sam is away, by the effect he has on me.
When he's away, it's not the physical demands of taking care of 5 kids on my own that is overwhelming to me.
But somehow there is this intangible, emotional hole that instantly develops when he leaves to go out of town.
I was reminded of this video my sister took this summer. It's just the boys having a dance party, but as I watched myself in the background, I was amazed to see the change that came over me when Sam sat down next to me. Before, my face was filled with tension and I was distracted. Immediately after he sits next to me, my entire body relaxes and I am all smiles, focused on enjoying the kids with him.
That is what he does to me on a daily basis. He grounds me, relaxes me, eases my burdens, highlights the joy in my life, and increases my appreciation for the kids.
Needless to say, we're all incredibly glad he's home!