Several years ago my young daughter and I moved into the upstairs apartment where we now live. While my loving, wonderful friends helped me move in, the downstairs neighbors began to complain about the noise. That did not bode well for living above them. After all, how can anyone move in quietly? As I suspected, the complaints continued on a daily basis -- well after that initial day. We walked "too loudly" down the stairs, we flushed the toilet too much ... Their child had problems with my child and they complained to me as well. I soon learned that they had driven out the last few families who had lived above them and that each situation had erupted into feuds and yelling. So, I had the information I needed and I tried to think of the situation from a spiritual point of view. I realized that I could fight with my ... Read Full Story >>
18 years ago I discovered I was unexpectedly pregnant, I was on my own and in an extremely limited financial situation. I worked at a pet shop, a job I loved, but cleaning cages with unrelenting nausea was pretty awful to deal with. Having little money, and unable to keep anything down, I started losing weight instead of gaining it. There was a neighbor woman I had visited with a couple of times, and to my surprise, she started working at the pet shop too. Everyday, for lunch, she would produce large, organic salads and other very healthy meals. To my surprise she insisted that I have some of her lunch. I tried to refuse, but she was determined. Puzzled, I managed to eat, and when I admitted to everyone at work that I was pregnant, she was very excited, and kept on feeding me, despite the fact that I couldn't hold it ... Read Full Story >>
Sometimes kindness has a ferocious beginning.
My dear friend Michael stood in line at a grocery store. In the next line a mother had lost her temper with her screaming three year old sitting in the cart seat. To everyone's shock the woman began slapping the little boy's face. Michael (a therapist) turned to her and commanded, "Stop!" The woman jerked, as if from a trance and buried her face in her hands as she began to sob. Michael took her in his arms and held her as she cried. Then he comforted the little boy. The woman thanked him and tearfully told him about the tremendous stress she was experiencing in her life. Michael encouraged her and gave her a card to an excellent family therapist that he knew. Through her tears the mother apologized to to her little boy and hugged him and promised that she would make an appointment with the therapist.
I think most of us, at our worst, would benefit from someone stepping in to help us regain our bearings.
Michael is gone now, but the Love that he shared so generously in life continues on, rippling from those he touched to others.
After many months of illness, the resulting financial troubles and the love and generosity of dear friends, family members and even strangers that helped me and my children through those difficult times, my life regained balance. On a trip to the grocery store I spotted a young couple hitchhiking with two puppies. They were obviously tired and discouraged and had made a sign, which simply read, "Just Food." Praying that they would stay, I hurried into the grocery store and bought a bag full of nutritious foods, puppy chow for the dogs along with items I needed. To my relief they were still there when I came out. I drove up beside them and the young man approached at my beckoning him. I handed him the bag full of groceries, saying, "this is for you..." then the bag of chow, "this is for your puppies", and then a ten dollar bill, "And here's ... Read Full Story >>
When I was younger, we lived out in the in what is now a forest preserve. People had the unfortunate habit of abandoning dogs at the foot of our long driveway. This drove my poor mother crazy! We were by no means well off and already had a dog. Staring out the window my mother would sputter and complain about the irresponsible and cruel people who had dumped their dog on us. She told us to stay away from the dog as we could not afford it, and that was that! I felt very upset, and I couldn't believe my mother refused to help the animal, but she was adamant. She said, "Other people lived near by. Let them take care of the creature." The poor dog lay at the end of the driveway and hardly moved for two days, obviously heart broken. My heart was breaking too, but I dared not ... Read Full Story >>
Ever since I was a kid I've always been involved in animal rescue. In a neighborhood I lived in several years ago I was known as the Animal Lady. One evening three little neighbor girls ran up to my door, exclaiming over a baby squirrel that was running around on the sidewalk. I quickly followed the kids and they led me to a tiny squirrel, frantically trying to run up to the various nervous neighbors who were screeching and dodging the baby squirrel. I accessed the youngster to be young enough to still have milk teeth and I realized that even if it bit me, it could do no damage. I scooped the little creature up and checked it for injuries. It seemed fine. Now, a baby squirrel has to be pretty desperate for milk to leave its nest and search the neighborhood for help. I figured the mother must have ... Read Full Story >>
When I was a little girl my family lived in what is now part of a forest preserve. Our bus stop was about a mile from our house and in the afternoons we often walked home through the woods or down the highway. The woods were safer but in the winter the build up of snow made the trek very difficult. So, I often had no option but to walk the desolate stretch of highway that ran by our long driveway. When I was in high school I took the highway home one winter's day and a man drove by. Now it wasn't unusual for all manner of creeps to bother me as I walked and I always felt very tense when I had to do it. Instantly I knew this man was trouble! I pretended to look straight ahead. He drove down the highway, turned around drove past me again. Then he ... Read Full Story >>