have a client in Hawaii who has body-surfed daily for years.
One day, while he was out in particularly aggressive surf,
the bangle was yanked off his arm. We received the following
letter from him one month later:
a miracle; the bangle was found today (actually yesterday
since it's now after midnight...but I'm too excited to sleep).
It was found by a man snorkeling in the water where I lost
it. If you knew the kind of surf we had the week I lost it,
you wouldn't think it would be possible that it would EVER
work its way to the surface again. The beach is a world famous
beach and since this is Maui's busy season it is packed everyday.
The amazing thing is that the man who found it was sitting
near a friend of mine whom two German tourist girls always
snorkel guy showed them the bangle he'd just found and asked
them if they knew what it was worth. My friend saw what was
going on and walked over and told him he knew who the bangle
belonged to. He told him he'd get a reward, which he will.
so will my friend for being there for me. About the friend:
I clean the beach once or twice a week, picking up litter.
About two weeks ago I picked up his watch, which he didn't
realize he had dropped in the sand, and gave it to him. He
was very grateful since he'd had the thing for something like
24 years. Later on he thanked me again. I replied that I hoped
he'd return the favor. He knew I was referring to the missing
bangle and said that he hoped he would. I am very blown away
by the whole chain of events, and very grateful.
want to buy an almost new underwater metal detector?
for Nick and Charlie--The bangle was intact. Perfect as ever.
in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg,
lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order
merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father
and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked
almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying
chore he could find in the neighborhood.
their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer,
the Elder's, children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue
their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father
would never be financially able to send either of them to
Nuremberg to study at the Academy.
many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two
boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The
loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings,
support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when
that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four
years, he would support the other brother at the academy,
either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by
laboring in the mines.
tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer
won the toss and went off to Nuremberg. Albert went down into
the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed
his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate
sensation. Albrecht's etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils
were far better than those of most of his professors, and
by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable
fees for his commissioned works.
the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family
held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's
triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated
with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position
at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother
for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill
his ambition. His closing words were, "And now, Albert,
blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can
go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care
heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table
where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking
his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated,
over and over, "No ...no ...no ...no."
Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced
down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding
his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No,
brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me.
Look ... look what four years in the mines have done to my
hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least
once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly
in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return
your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or
canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother ... for me it is
than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds
of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors,
charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great
museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like
most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's
works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well
may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.
day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed,
Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands
with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He
called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but
the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to
his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The
next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a
second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one,
that no one -- no one - - ever makes it alone!
to sincerely thank those who have helped you to get where
Kanta Masters, for sending this story.
son united after 27 years
gas station clerk Nueng Garcia, it was just another day on
the job until he noticed the name of one man who paid with
"Are you John Garcia?" he asked the man.
"Yes," came the answer.
"Were you ever in the Air Force?"
"Did you ever have a son?"
With that question, the two stared at each other and realized
at the same moment that they were the father and son who had
been separated 27 years ago and half a world away. "I
started thinking - this couldn't be. I was totally shocked,"
the elder Garcia said today on ABC's "Good Morning America. Until Monday's chance meeting, John Garcia had not seen his
son since July 1969, when the elder Garcia was a young American
serviceman. Nueng was just 3 months old when his father left him and his
mother, Pratom Semon, in Thailand. Both father and son said
the woman did not want to leave their homeland for the united
States. Garcia said he continued to write and send checks to his son's
mother after he left Thailand. Nueng said his mother was seeing
another man, who put a stop to his father's correspondence.
After two years of writing, Garcia lost touch with his son.
In later years, he sent letters to the government in Bangkok
seeking an address. They went unanswered. Nueng Garcia and his mother had moved to Colorado Springs
in 1971, after immigrating to the United states with another
American serviceman Semon married and has since divorced.
By chance, John Garcia moved to Pueblo nine years ago to take
a job. That their paths met this week was even more unlikely. Garcia
said he never goes to that gas station, wasn't even low on
gas and hardly ever pays with a check. "I don't even
know why I stopped for gas," he said. His newfound 27-year-old son put his arm around the man who
was once a stranger and said, "Dad...I'm glad you stopped."As for their plans now, Nueng said: "Twenty-seven years
is long time - we're catching up."
Warren Woodward, for sending this story.
The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first
ministry, to reopen a church in urban Brooklyn, arrived in early
October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their
church,it was very run down and needed much work. They set a
goal to have everything done in time to have their first service
on Christmas Eve. They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc., and on Dec. 18 were ahead
ofschedule and just about finished. On Dec 19 a terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted
for two days. On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church.
His heart sunk when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing
a large area of plaster about 6 feet by 8 feet to fall off
the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning
about head high. The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor,
and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas
Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local
business was having a flea market type sale for charity so
he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, hand-made,
ivory colored, crochet table cloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a cross embroidered
right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up
the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to
the church. By this time it had started to snow. An older woman
running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the
bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm
church for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and
paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers,
etc. to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor
could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered
up the entire problem area. Then he noticed the woman walking
down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. "Pastor,"
she asked, "Where did you get that tablecloth?" The
pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right
corner to see if the initials, EBG were crochet into it there.
They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had
made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria. The woman
could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten
the tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she
and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the
Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to
follow her the next week. She was captured, sent to prison and
never saw her husband or her home again. The pastor wanted to
give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for
the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home, that was
the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten
Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning
job. What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The
church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great.
At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone
at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom
the pastor recognized from the neighborhood, continued to
sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered
why he wasn't leaving. The man asked him where he got the
tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one
that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria
before the war and how couldthere be two tablecloths so much
alike? He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced
his wife to flee for her safety, and he was supposed to follow
her, but he was arrested and put in a concentration camp.
He never saw his wife or his home again for all the 35 years
in between. The pastor asked him if he would allow him to
take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and
to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three
days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of
stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door and he
saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.
-- submitted by Pastor Rob Reid
John Blanchard stood
up from the bench,straightened his Army uniform, and studied
the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station.
He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he
didn't, the girl with the rose. His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida
library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued,
not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled
in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul
and insightful mind. In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner's
name, Miss Hollis Maynell. With time and effort he located her
address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing
himself and inviting her to correspond. The next day he was
shipped overseas for service in World War II. During the next year and one month the two grew to know each
other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a
fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a
photograph,but she refused. She felt that if he really cared,
it wouldn't matter what she looked like. When the day finally
came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first
meeting - 7:00 PM at the Grand Central Station in New York.
"You'll recognize me," she wrote, "by the red
rose I'll be wearing on my lapel." So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart
he loved, but whose face he'd never seen. I'll let Mr. Blanchard
tell you what happened: A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim.Her
blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes
were blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness,
and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive.
I started toward her,entirely forgetting to notice that she
was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small, provocative smile
curved her lips."Going my way,sailor?" she murmured. Almost uncontrollably, I made one step closer to her, and then
I saw Hollis Maynell. She was standing almost directly behind
the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked
under a worn hat.. She was more than plump, her thick-ankled
feet thrust into low-heeled shoes. The girl in the green suit
was walking quickly away. I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to
follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose
spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own.And there
she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible, her
gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle.I did not hesitate.
My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book
that was to identify me to her. This would not be love, but it would be something precious,
something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which
I had been and must ever be grateful.I squared my shoulders
and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though
while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment.
"I'm Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell.
I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?"
The woman's face broadened into a tolerant smile. "I don't
know what this is about, son," she answered, "but
the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged
me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to
ask me out to dinner, I should tell you that she is waiting
for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it
was some kind of test!" It's not difficult to understand and admire Miss Maynell's wisdom.
The true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive. "Tell me whom you love," Houssaye wrote, "And
I will tell you who you are."
We often learn
the most from our children. Some time ago, a friend of mine
punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold
wrapping paper. Money was tight, and he became infuriated
when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the tree.
little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning
and said, "This is for you, Daddy." He was embarrassed
by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when
he found that the box was empty.
He yelled at her, "Don't you know that when you give someone a present,
there's supposed to be something inside of it?"
The little girl
looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, "Oh,
Daddy it's not empty. I blew kisses into the box. All for
The father was
crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged
her forgiveness. My friend told me that he kept that gold
box by his bed for years. Whenever he was discouraged, he
would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of
the child who had put it there. In a very real sense, each
parent has been given a gold container filled with unconditional
love and kisses from our children.There is no more precious
possession anyone could hold.
Thanks Allen Allison,
for sending this story.
in the first third grade class I taught at Saint Mary's School
in Morris, Minn. All 34 of my students were dear to me, but
Mark Eklund was one in a million. Very neat in appearance,
but had that happy-to-be-alive attitude that made even his
occasional mischievousness delightful.
incessantly. I had to remind him again and again that talking
without permission was not acceptable. What impressed me so
much, though, was his sincere response every time I had to
correct him for misbehaving - "Thank you for correcting
know what to make of it at first, but before long I became
accustomed to hearing it many times a day.
my patience was growing thin when Mark talked once too often,
and then I made a novice-teacher's mistake. I looked at Mark
and said, "If you say one more word, I am going to tape
your mouth shut!"
ten seconds later when Chuck blurted out, "Mark is talking
again." I hadn't asked any of the students to help me
watch Mark, but since I had stated the punishment in front
of the class, I had to act on it.
the scene as if it had occurred this morning. I walked to
my desk, very deliberately opened by drawer and took out a
roll of masking tape. Without saying a word, I proceeded to
Mark's desk, tore off two pieces of tape and made a big X
with them over his mouth. I then returned to the front of
As I glanced
at Mark to see how he was doing, he winked at me. That did
it!! I started laughing. The class cheered as I walked back
to Mark's desk, removed the tape, and shrugged my shoulders.
His first words were, "Thank you for correcting me, Sister."
end of the year, I was asked to teach junior-high math. The
years flew by, and before I knew it Mark was in my classroom
again. He was more handsome than ever and just as polite.
Since he had to listen carefully to my instruction in the
"new math," he did not talk as much in ninth grade
as he had in third. One Friday, things just didn't feel right.
We had worked hard on a new concept all week, and I sensed
that the students were frowning, frustrated with themselves
- and edgy with one another. I had to stop this crankiness
before it got out of hand.
So I asked
them to list the names of the other students in the room on
two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then
I told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about
each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder
of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the
students left the room, each one handed me the papers. Charlie
smiled. Mark said, "Thank you for teaching me, Sister.
Have a good weekend."
I wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet
of paper, and I listed what everyone else had said about that
individual. On Monday I gave each student his or her list.
Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?"
I heard whispered. "I never knew that meant anything
to anyone!" "I didn't know others liked me so much."
No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. I never
knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents,
but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose.
The students were happy with themselves and one another again.
of students moved on. Several years later, after I returned
from vacation, my parents met me at the airport. As we were
driving home, Mother asked me the usual questions about the
trip - the weather, my experiences in general. There was a
lull in the conversation.
gave Dad a side-ways glance and simply says, "Dad?"
My father cleared his throat as he usually did before something
called last night," he began. "Really?" I said.
"I haven't heard from them in years. I wonder how Mark
quietly. "Mark was killed in Vietnam," he said.
"The funeral is tomorrow, and his parents would like
it if you could attend."
day I can still point to the exact spot on I-494 where Dad
told me about Mark.
never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. Mark
looked so handsome, so mature. All I could think at that moment
was, Mark I would give all the masking tape in the world if
only you would talk to me.
was packed with Mark's friends. Chuck's sister sang "The
Battle Hymn of the Republic." Why did it have to rain
on the day of the funeral? It was difficult enough at the
graveside. The pastor said the usual prayers, and the bugler
played taps. One by one those who loved
a last walk by the coffin and sprinkled it with holy water.
I was the last one to bless the coffin. As I stood there,
one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to me.
"Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. I nodded
as I continued to stare at the coffin. "Mark talked about
you a lot," he said.
the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates headed to Chuck's
farmhouse for lunch. Mark's mother and father were there,
obviously waiting for me. "We want to show you something,"
his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They
found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might
the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook
paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many
times. I knew without looking that the papers were the ones
on which I had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates
had said about him.
you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said. "As
you can see, Mark treasured it."
classmates started to gather around us. Charlie smiled rather
sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the
top drawer of my desk at home." Chuck's wife said, "Chuck
asked me to put his in our wedding album."
have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary."
another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her
wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group.
"I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said
without batting an eyelash. "I think we all saved our
when I finally sat down and cried. I cried for Mark and for
all his friends who would never see him again.
Written by: Sister Helen P. Mrosla The purpose of this letter
is to encourage everyone to compliment the people you love
and care about. We often tend to forget the importance of
showing our affections and love. Sometimes the smallest of
things, could mean the most to another. I am asking you, to
please send this letter around and spread the message and
encouragement, to express your love and caring by complimenting
and being open with communication. The density of people in
society is so thick that we forget that life will end one
day. And we don't know when that one day will be. So please,
I beg of you, to tell the people you love and care for, that
they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too
Kanta Masters, for this story.
His name is Joe. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes
in it, jeans and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for
his entire four years of college. He is brilliant. Kinda esoteric
and very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending
college. Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed,
very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to
the students, but are not sure how to go about it. One day Joe
decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt,
and wild hair. The service has already started and so Joe starts
down the aisle looking for a seat. The church is completely
packed and he can't find a seat.
now people are looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says
anything. Joe gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit
and when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down
right on the carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior
at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened
in this church before!).
now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the
air is thick. About this time, the minister realizes that
from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making
his way toward Joe. Now the deacon is in his eighties, has
silver-gray hair, a three-piece suit, and a pocket watch.
A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He
walks with a cane and as he starts walking toward this boy,
everyone is saying to themselves, you can't blame him for
what he's going to do. How can you expect a man of his age
and of his background to understand some college kid on the
takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church
is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane.
All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing.
The people are thinking, the minister can't even preach the
sermon until the deacon does what he has to do. And now they
see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great
difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to Joe and
worships with him so he won't be alone. Everyone chokes up
with emotion. When the minister gains control he says, "What
I'm about to preach, you will never remember. What you have
just seen, you will never forget."
is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good
mood and always has something positive to say. When someone
would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I
were any better, I would be twins!" He was a unique manager
because he had several waiters who had followed him around
from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed
Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator.
If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling
the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.
this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to
Jerry and asked him, "I don`t get it! You can`t be a
positive all the time. How do you do it?"
replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry,
you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good
mood or you can choose to be in bad mood. I chose to be in
a good mood. Each time something bad happens,I can choose
to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose
to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining,
I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out
the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.
right, it`s not easy," I protested.
it is ," Jerry said. "Life is all about choices.
When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice.
you choose how you react to situations. You choose how people
will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or
bad mood. The bottom line: It`s your choice how you live life."
on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant
industry to start my own business. We lost touch, But I often
thought about him when I made a choice about life instead
of reaching to it. Several years later, I heard that Jerry
did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant
business: he left the back door open one morning and was held
up at gun point by three armed robbers. While trying to open
the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off
the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily,
Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local
18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care,Jerry was
released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still
in his body. I saw Jerry about six months after the accident.
When I asked him how he was, he replied,"If I were any
better, I`d be twins. Wanna see my scars?"I declined
to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his
mind as the robbery took place. "The first thing that
went through my mind was that I should have locked the back
door," Jerry replied. "Then, as I lay on the floor,
I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live
or I could choose to die. I chose to live."
you scared? Did you lose consciousness?' I asked.
continued, "...the paramedics were great. They kept telling
me I was going to be fine. "But when they wheeled me
into ER and saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors
and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he`s
a deadman'. I knew I needed to take action".
did you do?" I asked. "Well, there was a big burly
nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry. "She
asked if I was allergic to anything. "yes" I replied.
The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for
my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, "bullets!"
Over their laughter, I told them, " I am choosing to
live." "Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead." Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because
of his amazing attitude.
from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.
Sandpiper To Bring You Joy
She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sandcastle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea. "Hello," she said.
I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child. Do you want to help me build my castle? "Not today" I said, not caring. " I like the feel of sand on my toes," she said smiling. That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by. "That's a joy," the child said.
"It's a what?" "That's joy gliding down the beach." "Good-bye joy," I muttered to myself, "hello pain," and turned to walk on. I was depressed; my life seemed completely out of balance.
"What's your name?" She wouldn't give up. "Robert," I answered. "I'm Robert Peterson." "Mine's Wendy... I'm six." "Hi, Wendy." In spite of my gloom I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me. "Come again, Mr. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day." The days and weeks that followed belonged to others: a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, an myailing mother. The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. "I need a sandpiper,"
I said to myself, gathering up my coat. The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly, but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed. I had forgotten the child and was startled when she appeared.
"Hello, Mr. P," she said. "Do you want to play?" "I don't know, you say." "How about charades?" I asked sarcastically. The tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that is."
"Then let's just walk." Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face. "Where do you live?" I asked. "Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages. Strange, I thought, in winter. "Where do you go to school?" "I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation."
She chattered like
a little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind
was on other things. When I left for home, Wendy said it had
been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at
her and agreed. Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in
a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy.
I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding
she keep her child at home. "Look, if you don't mind,"
I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, "I'd rather
be alone today." She seems unusually pale and out of
breath. "Why?" she asked.
I turned to her
and shouted, "Because my mother died!" and thought,
my God, why was I saying this to a little child? "Oh,"
she said quietly, "then this is a bad day." "Yes,"
I said, "and yesterday and the day before and-oh, go
away!" "Did it hurt? " she inquired. "Did
what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself.
"When she died?" "Of course it hurt!!!!"
I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself.
I strode off. A
month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she
wasn't there. Feeling guilty, ashamed and admitting to myself
I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked
at the door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored
hair opened the door. "Hello," I said. "I'm
Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered
where she was."
"Oh yes, Mr.
Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much. I'm
afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance,
please, accept my apologies."
"Not at all-she's
a delightful child," I said, suddenly realizing that
I meant it. "Where is she?" "Wendy died last
week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukemia. Maybe she didn't tell
you." Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. My breath caught.
"She loved this beach; so when she asked to come, we
couldn't say no. She seemed so much better here and had a
lot of what she called happy days. But the last few weeks,
she declined rapidly..." her voice faltered. "She
left something for you ... if only I can find it. Could you
wait a moment while I look?"
I nodded stupidly,
my mind racing for something, anything, to say to this lovely
young woman. She handed me a smeared envelope, with MR. P
printed in bold, childish letters. Inside was a drawing in
bright crayon hues-a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown
bird. Underneath was carefully printed: A SANDPIPER TO BRING
YOU JOY. Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had
almost forgotten to love opened wide. I took Wendy's mother
in my arms. "I'm so sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry,"
I muttered over and over, and we wept together. The precious
little picture is framed now and hangs in my study.
Six words - one
for each year of her life - that speak to me of harmony, courage,
undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea-blue eyes and
hair the color of sand-who taught me the gift of love.
The above is a
true story sent out by Robert Peterson. "The price of
hating other human beings is loving oneself less." Life
is so complicated, the hustle and bustle of everyday traumas,
can make us lose focus about what is truly important.
am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3), and have recently completed
my college degree. The last class I had to take was Sociology.
The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that
I wish every human being had been graced with.
last project of the term was called "Smile." The
class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document
their reaction. I am a very friendly person and always smile
at everyone and say, hello anyway? so, I thought, this would
be a piece of cake literally.
after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son,
and I went out to McDonalds, one crisp March morning. It was
just our way of sharing special play time with our son. We
were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a
sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even
my husband did.
did not move an inch...an overwhelming feeling of panic welled
up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved. As
I turned around, I smelled a horrible "dirty body"
smell and there standing behind me were two poor homeless
men. As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me,
he was "smiling". His beautiful sky blue eyes were
full of God's Light as he searched for acceptance. He said,
"Good day" as he counted the few coins he had been
clutching. The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood
behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally
deficient and the blue eyed gentleman was his salvation.
held my tears as I stood there with them. The young lady at
the counter asked him what they wanted. He said, "Coffee
is all Miss" because that was all they could afford (to
sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something.
They just wanted to be warm). Then I really felt it -- the
compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced
the little man with the blue eyes. That is when I noticed
all eyes in the restaurant were set on me -- judging my every
smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give
me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray. I then walked
around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as
a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand
on the blue eyed gentleman's cold hand. He looked up at me,
with tears in his eyes, and said, "Thank you." I
leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, "I did not
do this for you. God is here working through me to give you
started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son.
When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, "That
is why God gave you to me honey -- to give me hope." We held hands for a moment. We are not churchgoers, but we
are believers. That day showed me the pure light of God's
returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this
story in hand. I turned in "my project" and the
instructor read it, then she looked up at me and said, "Can
I share this?" I slowly nodded as she got the attention
of the class. She began to read and that is when I knew that
we as human beings (part of God) share this need to heal.
In my own way I had touched the people at McDonalds, my husband,
son, instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom
on the last night I spent as a college student.
graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn
-- unconditional acceptance. After all, we are here to learn!
Much love sent to each and every person who may read this.
was getting cold sitting out in his back yard in the snow.
Bobby didn't wear boots; he didn't like them and anyway he
didn't own any. The thin sneakers he wore had a few holes
in them and they did a poor job of keeping out the cold.
had been in his backyard for about an hour already. And, try
as he might, he could not come up with an idea for his mother's
Christmas gift. He shook his head as he thought, "This
is useless, even if I do come up with an idea, I don't have
any money to spend."
since his father had passed away three years ago, the family
of five had struggled. It wasn't because his mother didn't
care, or try, there just never seemed to be enough. She worked
nights at the hospital, but the small wage that she was earning
could only be stretched so far. What the family lacked in
money and material things, they more than made up for in love
and family unity. Bobby had two older and one younger sister,
who ran the household in their mother's absence. All three
of his sisters had already made beautiful gifts for their
it just wasn't fair. Here it was Christmas Eve already, and
he had nothing. Wiping a tear from his eye, Bobby kicked the
snow and started to walk down to the street where the shops
and stores were. It wasn't easy being six without a father,
especially when he needed a man to talk to. Bobby walked from
shop to shop, looking into each decorated window. Everything
seemed so beautiful and so out of reach. It was starting to
get dark and Bobby reluctantly turned to walk home when suddenly
his eyes caught the glimmer of the setting sun's rays reflecting
off of something along the curb. He reached down and discovered
a shiny dime. Never before has anyone felt so wealthy as Bobby
felt at that moment.
he held his new found treasure, a warmth spread throughout
his entire body and he walked into the first store he saw.
His excitement quickly turned cold when salesperson after
salesperson told him that he could not buy anything with only
saw a flower shop and went inside to wait in line. When the
shop owner asked if he could help him, Bobby presented the
dime and asked if he could buy one flower for his mother's
Christmas gift. The shop owner looked at Bobby and his ten
cent offering. Then he put his hand on Bobby's shoulder and
said to him, "You just wait here and I'll see what I
can do for you."
Bobby waited, he looked at the beautiful flowers and even
though he was a boy, he could see why mothers and girls liked
sound of the door closing as the last customer left, jolted
Bobby back to reality. All alone in the shop, Bobby began
to feel alone and afraid. Suddenly the shop owner came out
and moved to the counter. There, before Bobby's eyes, lay
twelve long stem, red roses, with leaves of green and tiny
white flowers all tied together with a big silver bow. Bobby's
heart sank as the owner picked them up and placed them gently
into a long white box. "That will be ten cents young
man." the shop owner said reaching out his hand for the
Bobby moved his hand to give the man his dime. Could this
be true? No one else would give him a thing for his dime!
Sensing the boy's reluctance, the shop owner added, "I
just happened to have some roses on sale for ten cents a dozen.
Would you like them?" This time Bobby did not hesitate,
and when the man placed the long box into his hands, he knew
it was true. Walking out the door that the owner was holding
for Bobby, he heard the shop keeper say, "Merry Christmas,
he returned inside, the shop keepers wife walked out. "Who
were you talking to back there and where are the roses you
were fixing?" Staring out the window, and blinking the
tears from his own eyes, he replied, "A strange thing
happened to me this morning. While I was setting up things
to open the shop, I thought I heard a voice telling me to
set aside a dozen of my best roses for a special gift. I wasn't
sure at the time whether I had lost my mind or what, but I
set them aside anyway. Then just a few minutes ago, a little
boy came into the shop and wanted to buy a flower for his
mother with one small dime. When I looked at him, I saw myself,
many years ago. I too was a poor boy with nothing to buy my
mother a Christmas gift. A bearded man, whom I never knew,
stopped me on the street and told me that he wanted to give
me ten dollars. When I saw that little boy tonight, I knew
who that voice was, and I put together a dozen of my very
shop owner and his wife hugged each other tightly, and as
they stepped out into the bitter cold air, they somehow didn't
feel cold at all.
again Kanta Masters.
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