Any kind of recognition is hard for some folks

Any kind of recognition is hard for some folks

My husband, Frank, had an important birthday yesterday.  A few days before the actual day, we had a some friends over and gave him a birthday party.  He was surprised and honored that so many people would come to celebrate his day.  He was grateful for all the effort put into making this birthday a special time.

My dilemma with birthdays is the people who abhor any kind of recognition.  Birthdays and anniversaries are painful events for them.  Yet, on the other hand, it’s important that we recognize those who work among us.  My wonderful Melbourne supervisor, JoAnne, will have a birthday in a couple of days.  The problem is that she needs and wants nothing.  Her greatest desire is to do her job without any kind of fanfare or show.  Usually, she is able to accomplish that easily.  There is a big problem with the JoAnne’s of the world.  It is that the rest of us are so indebted to them that we have a legitimate need to thank them in a tangible way.

Therefore, next Saturday at our Vero Special Gathering where she is a volunteer and then again at our Melbourne Special Gathering on Sunday where she is a paid staff, we will have a small celebration with a card and a cake.  She will be angry and unhappy about the attention.  In reality, understanding her level of discomfort, I have to admit that we are going to be doing this for our members in both programs, not for JoAnne. 

Special Gathering is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  We work with people who are developmentally delayed.  While we do classic ministry, evangelism and discipleship, our members love to celebrate birthdays.  We are greatly endebted to many people who work and volunteer with us.  Seldom do we get to say a hardy, “Thank you.”  JoAnne is a small sampling of the professional community that labors to make our lives possible.  While I know that some of the people working with our members in a dozen different capacities may not be the cream of the batch.  However, most of them give and give and then give some more.

Who are the people who give more than you could ever repay?  What are some of the ways you have found to repay them?