The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned round to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being. She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?" I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze. "Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked. She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids..." "No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age. "I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told ... Read Full Story >>
After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I heard the announcement: "If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately." Well -- one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there. An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly. "Help," said the flight service person. "Talk to her. What is her problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she did this." I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly. "Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick, Sho bit se-wee?" The minute she heard any words she knew -- however poorly used -- she stopped crying. She thought our flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the following ... Read Full Story >>
I was recently traveling with a friend when we decided to get something to eat. Being a huge Waffle House fan, we scouted out the area we were in, and found one. If you have never been in one, or have never heard of it, Waffle House is kinda like a chain of diners that serve the best waffles around! They won't be found at the top of any Zagat's list of Fine dining, but they are my favorite! Our waitress took a while to take our order, asking the same questions a few times. We made a few substitutions and "complicated" the order, but she wrote it all down. When the orders came, they were not right. When the bill came, it was not right either. The only thing that was right was the taste of the food and the smile of the waitress. She may not ... Read Full Story >>
My husband is not a big fan of kids, especially those without manners and that misbehave. One of our neighbors has 3 children and the oldest is Jacob. He's 10 now, but was 5 at the time. Just a big bundle of love and energy, with his bright blue eyes, red hair, freckles and braces. (For you all that remember Mayberry RFD on TV- he's Opie's look-alike! For the rest of you, he's a darling! I just love him to death). For some reason, he took a liking to my husband. Everytime he saw him, Jacob would wave, dash across the street and come visit. If he was in the garage repairing his bikes or in the front yard cleaning, Jacob would wave, dash across the street and come visit. Jacob would always ask so many questions and keep my hubby company. They would ride bikes together, and what not. They really seemed ... Read Full Story >>
I have a friend who I was put into contact with through my Narrative Therapist. She is also unwell and under going huge hardships. We live in different countries, and our situations are quite different from one another. But despite this, we find we can connect to each others hearts through a few compassionate words. Each day, we send each other something to 'lift' one another up. Whether it be the lyrics to an inspirational song, a capturing quote, or just some thoughtful, comforting words. The impact this has on me is incredible. And it works two ways- the fact that I've made her feel good, makes me feel good inside, and the fact that she's made me feel good, makes her feel good. I guess I'm trying to say- a compassionate heart is the most priceless thing in the world. And to be compassionate, you do not need to 'know', you need not understand, ... Read Full Story >>
I keep scissors handy on my sofa side table to clip interesting articles and coupons that my friends & family may like. Once a week, I sort them into different piles and send it thru the mail to distribute. I received many thank you's for the interesting articles, so I started to clip out funny cartoons, inspirational stories, share poems and pick up stick-um's and other surprise goodies too! I stuff them into the letters especially if I know the person needs a pick-me-up ... it's fun and not expensive at all ... and everyone loves the "snail mail surprises." Lastly, when I sort thru the mail, I pull out the Two for One coupon restaurant deals, additional savings coupon or certificates from department stores, etc. I keep them in a envelope and if I don't need it, I make sure to pass out to other friends and co-workers for their use before expiration dates. I recently snail-mail ... Read Full Story >>
Last month it was my nurse's birthday. She has been caring for me since August 2006. Through the months, we have built an amazing bond. She has been there for me, and has helped me over so many hurdles its unbelievable. She's my rock in every way. I wanted to do something special for her birthday, to show her how much she means to me. Being confined to my bed, I can't go out shopping for a gift. So I was left to use my imagination and the materials in my room. But I was determined to make an unforgettable gift. I found an old shoe box, and got a bunch of my old girlie magazines, and spent 4 days cutting and pasting carefully selected items onto the box, creating an intricate collage. Each piece reflected in some way or another, our friendship. To finish it off, I put a photo of us ... Read Full Story >>
One of my friends, let's call him Jose, is one of those guys who doesn't even need to say anything and people will just feel comfortable in his presence. He is an amazingly compassionate guy, who will flat out tell you that his purpose in life is to bring more beauty on this planet. No, if's, and's, but's ... clear and simple, unwavering in his life mission. He doesn't need to convince anyone and he can't be swayed from it by anyone else. It's a funny story about how he learned his initial lesson of compassion. He was madly in love with his high school sweet-heart for many years. He would do anything for her and she was the most important thing in the world to him. Until ... she left him oneday (perhaps she cheated on him before that). It hit him like a bucket of cold water. Never before had he ... Read Full Story >>
Three events, five hours. That was my Saturday evening schedule. It would've been nice to thoroughly enjoy one event, but how can you pick between a high school friend's first baby shower, cousin's i-am-turning-five birthday party, and a suprise proposal between two friends who met at your house?!? So my wife and I zoomed in Fred's beamer, from Milpitas to Santa Clara to San Francisco, and the excitement was building as we landed at Buca di Bepo at 7PM. We had no idea what the evening would hold. The plan was for Pete to propose to Linda, and bring her to a restaurant where Pete had gathered their closest friends, including Linda's four-grade classmate whom he had flown in from Salt Lake City! And it was executed perfectly. Pete had taken Linda to the spot of their first date, struggled to find a private spot with his "binoculars", got down ... Read Full Story >>
I had a friend that every time you walked in her door for a visit, her greeting was "Hi Honey". She had a way of saying it by dragging it out as she said it, that made me feel like she was so glad to see me. We met several years ago when her husband was admitted to our Hospice program. I got in on that admission as I was on call the Saturday he was admitted. We hit it off right away, and my friendship with her continued even after her husband died. We visited together once or twice a week, never for very long, but always with sincere joy in one another's presence. She had told me that when she got ready for Hospice care, she would let me know and we could admit her. Sure enough, one day she told me it was time. We continued to have ... Read Full Story >>
A very close friend of mine has two older parents who have been very sick and in the hospital. Her Mom has alzheimers and her Dad has diabetes and just had surgery on his legs. She was able to make arrangements for them to come to her house when they left the hospital, but this is now an additional responsibility for her in addition to her own family.
A bunch of us (9 friends) got together and came up with a calendar of dates for us to take turns making dinner and delivering it to her house. (Thank goodness for email!) It'll be one less thing she will have to worry about while she establishes a routine and things settle down for her. This way she will know they are eating healthy foods and she can tend to her parents needs. I'm so happy to be part of this effort.
MANY HANDS make LIGHT WORK. If we all do our part, it's easy!
Actually, he started out as my step-dad's best friend since they were 5 and 6 years old, respectively. They grew up in New York City. Howie's home life was not good, very troubled. Still, he grew up to be a fine man, worked hard, married, and had two children. His wife divorced him when the children were small and he kind of drifted through life, working, but no real focus. I was almost 6 when my mother and stepfather met (again) and decided to make a life together. Howie said to my dad, "You are going to live with her (meaning my mother)? She has a kid, the kid will be an anchor and slow you down." Howie would come over our house and eat dinner and spend time there. I guess I kind of grew on him. He taught me how to play checkers and we got along just fine. At ... Read Full Story >>
There was once an elderly, despondent woman in a nursing home. She wouldn't speak to anyone or request anything. She merely existed - rocking in her creaky old rocking chair.
The old woman didn't have many visitors. But every couple mornings, a concerned and wise young nurse would go into her room. She didn't try to speak or ask questions of the old lady. She simply pulled up another rocking chair beside the old woman and rocked with her.
Weeks or months later, the old woman finally spoke.
'Thank you,' she said. 'Thank you for rocking with me.'"
So there we are sitting in our little booth, finishing up a, tasty meal. It dawns on us, it’s time. Who will it be? Who will it be? Hmmm…. them! Who? Them, the couple behind me over my left shoulder. All right, lets do it! Our waiter comes over and asks: Would you like to take the rest with you? Yes, we would. Could we have our check? Ahhh, we’d also like to pay for that table. Uhh…what table? Any table really, but we were thinking of that table…. Fingers point discreetly, and the target is understood. We slip him a SMILE card and ask that it be given to them in lue of the bill. He walks over to the register and exchanges a few words with his manager. The Manager looks up, glances over, and smiles. The waiter returns and asks: He wants to know if this table would ... Read Full Story >>
In order for the character of a human being to reveal truly exceptional qualities, we must have the good fortune to observe its action over a long period of years. If this action is devoid of all selfishness, if the idea that directs it is one of unqualified generosity, if it is absolutely certain that it has not sought recompense anywhere, and if moreover it has left visible marks on the world, then we are unquestionably dealing with an unforgettable character. About forty years ago I went on a long hike, through hills absolutely unknown to tourists, in that very old region where the Alps penetrate into Provence. This region is bounded to the south-east and south by the middle course of the Durance, between Sisteron and Mirabeau; to the north by the upper course of the Drôme, from its source down to Die; to the west by the plains of Comtat ... Read Full Story >>
Consumed by my loss, I didn’t notice the hardness of the pew where I sat. I was at the funeral of my dearest friend - my mother. She finally had lost her long battle with cancer. The hurt was so intense; I found it hard to breathe at times. Always supportive, Mother clapped loudest at my school plays, held a box of tissues while listening to my first heartbreak, comforted me when my father died, encouraged me in college, and prayed for me my entire life. When Mother’s illness was diagnosed, my sister had a new baby and my brother had recently married his childhood sweetheart, so it fell to me, the twenty-seven-year-old middle child without entanglements, to take care of her. I counted it as an honor. “What now, Lord?” I asked, sitting in the church. My life stretched out before me as an empty abyss. My brother sat stoically with his face ... Read Full Story >>
Since I was 12, I've had a simple rule -- remember birthdays! So, if I know a person's name, I consider it my duty to remember the person's birthday (family, friend and otherwise). One characteristic EVERY human being has is the need to feel special, significant and appreciated, and what better way and time to make a friend, neighbor, client, co-worker, your child's teacher, or even the cashier at your neighborhood grocery store feel special than by simply remembering their birthday each year. Talk about putting an instant smile on that person's face, if only but once a year. It brightens their day and it brings so much personal joy to me each time I do it. And because I know so many people, I'm pretty much telling someone happy birthday every month of the year. I'm now 30-something, so I guess you could call me the "Happy B-Day Diva"! And here's a ... Read Full Story >>
My husband died in 1998 and the following year found me incredibly depressed, desperately lonely and totally overwhelmed. I was living over 2,000 miles from my family, and his family had disappeared as if I had the plague. My sister and my friends had been trying to get me to sell and move for several months and a close friend invited to move to the town where she lived. Though I knew I should sell (I couldn't keep the place up), it was impossible for me to consider, as there was no way I could handle the mortgage until it sold, and also pay for an apartment. My friend invited me into her home, to live there with her, free of charge. She has a large, beautiful home, and though I seriously considered it, I didn't want to "put her out" or become a burden, and told her it could take months or even years to sell ... Read Full Story >>
[by Jeremy Mercer, Ode, Nov 2007] One of the more romantic literary notions is that a book can change a person’s life. Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Ford, for instance, claims Walker Percy’s novel The Moviegoer made Ford the author he is today. Or a book can have more immediate consequences for people, such as my grade-school friend who read My Side of the Mountain and promptly ran away from home with nothing but a penknife and a ball of twine. If a book can change your life, a bookstore can utterly transform it. In my case, I found one, or perhaps it found me, at a critical juncture when I was turning my back on everything I had known. It was a damp January day in 2000 when I discovered the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris. I had left my home in Canada a month earlier, having burned out in ... Read Full Story >>
Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner. But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn. He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife. "He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, 'Here you go,'" Diaz says. As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm." The would-be robber looked at his would-be victim, "like what's going on here?" Diaz says. "He asked me, 'Why are you doing ... Read Full Story >>
I am a recovering alcoholic. Years ago I went into a hospital because of depression. My life was a mess, my husband wanted a divorce. My daughter was doing drugs. Everything in my life was coming apart including me. My girlfriend's father came to see me. He was a big, barrel chested Irishman, who loved wearing Nike sweatshirts that said "JUST DO IT". Upon my release from the hospital, he began to take me to AA meetings, and we would meet for coffee, or go to his house where he and his Alcoholics Anonymous member wife slowly helped me back to life. They gave me a homework assignment. I was to stand in front of my mirror and look into my eyes and say, "you are a beautiful person, you deserve a good life, I care about you, I love you". He said, "JUST DO IT". Every night he would call at ... Read Full Story >>
My best friend, Marcie, is an amazing person who I treasure. From the first day we met we have been the best of friends. It all began when I was sitting alone at a new job and didn't know anyone -- it was lunch time and she asked if I wanted to have lunch with her. That was in September of 1999. Marcie is filled with kindness and somehow touches someone with it everyday. She is the first to help others and has never let me face anything alone from common childhood illnesses with my children, to emergency room visits, financial crises (and we have many!), helping me with my grandparents' scrapbook and helping me and my family through the recent death of my father, including helping me to find and pay for his urn to hold his ashes. She even helped with the lilttlest ones by getting them ready ... Read Full Story >>
My son's day care provider experienced a tragic sudden death of a friend. She had just met this fellow and had sensed a deep connection before dropping him off at his car. He had a car accident that night, and was killed. Deeply moved by the sadness that my friend was experiencing, I was compelled to write her some comforting words about being able to see the positives of how her friend had influenced her life and suggested that he possibly came to her as an angel of change for her life. This trajedy, impacted her deeply and encouraged her to reevaluate her life, as tragedy often does. I encouraged her to look past the normal conditionings that would have us concentrate on the drama of a trajedy and suggested she instead reflect on the positive message this friend's life gave her and the people around her. This approach would ... Read Full Story >>
As some of you know, my 30th birthday party is coming up and I have themed it a 'Random Acts of Kindness' party where we will be doing various things to bestow kindness upon others. My best friend, who cannot attend because she lives in South Africa (I'm in Australia) has chosen to participate in the event anyway. She has given me the best present possible! I felt so good when I received her email. Not just because of the beautiful comments she made, but also to see that my random acts of kindness idea has even reached the other side of the world and will make a difference to people so far away. It's absolutely inspirational. Here is her beautiful email that I would love to share with you: To my dear friend, Jackie, Since we met in July 2003, you have been a wonderful inspiration to me and a great friend. ... Read Full Story >>
I met my husband (my 2nd) back in 1997 at a colleague's wedding. We immediately hit it off and saw each other regularly. I told him all about my having IIH, and what it involved as well as the worst case scenario, which is blindness. I was also at the time a single parent to an 8 year old daughter. Although in some ways we were total opposites, we shared the same humour, values and ideas, and within a year we were married. It was the most fantastic day, and I don't know who cried more, myself or my husband. He became a fantastic husband, and father to my daughter (the only one she's ever known), and life was good to us. Two years on, due to my IH I lost my peripheral vision and depth perception. After having an Lp shunt to prevent total blindness, my mobility was severely affected, as the ... Read Full Story >>
A few years during the worst phase of my life, I ran away from home and did not know where to go. I just landed in a town to meet a friend who happened to be away on a vacation. It was late in the night and I had nowhere to go. I called the phone number my friend had given me. A polite voice answered the phone and informed me that he was my friend's friend. He came to meet me at the bus station and took me home for the night. I confessed everything to him and he really took care of me like a baby and spent the entire next three days with me, trying to reason things. Once he was confident that I was ok, he booked my ticket to go home without informing me. He took me out for the day and introduced all his friends and by evening gave me ... Read Full Story >>
I met a work colleague of my husband's a few weeks ago and had forgotten just how hard he was on himself. He thinks he's stupid, ugly, unable to communicate, a bad parent, unable to control his temper and unlikely to amount to anything much in his life. I found this to be a complete contrast to what I see when I look at him. He's caring, considerate, a good listener, very capable at work and a real family man who will sacrifice anything to give his loved ones the best. After a few drinks I broached this subject of affirmations and told him I was going to write him a book of inspirational quotes to make him stop in his tracks and see what others see. So, one long wet winter afternoon I sat with a little black notebook and put what I consider to be an inspiring quote on every ... Read Full Story >>
Our son is my newest "Hockey Hero." He plays goalie on his small hometown ice hockey team. One weekend on matchday, we arrived a bit late and quickly found our seats and settled in. As I looked around, I noticed we were sitting with a family who had a mentally and physically handicapped child. We could hear the exciement in his voice when he said, "Mom, look the goalie is going to get the puck now!" Shamelessly, I listened to him and the excitment and joy in his voice as praised the goalie time and time again. During the break, we went and told our son what was happening in the bleachers and, bless his heart, he went up into the bleachers, introduced himself to the parents and sat next to this young lad. He started talking to him and before long the boy was trying on our son's gloves, blocker and helment. When the game was about to start again, my ... Read Full Story >>
I was working for a company in Australia that has a high turnover of staff. I, too, had found a better position and was very aware that management would be dissapointed that I was leaving. I had recently become friends with a young man who had just migrated to Australia. He was unskilled and was finding life difficult being unemployed and married and having two young children. As I handed in my notice I was asked if I was aware of anyone who was looking for work and could do the job as well as I had done. I took this opportunity to line up an interview for my new friend. My friend was not offered the job after the interview. I had to serve a weeks notice and during this time I asked management the reasons why my friend was turned down. They claimed that his English was not good enough ... Read Full Story >>
My fiancee and I decided today was the day to finally treat ourselves to a nice dinner. It started off as 'our' day' but little did we know that it would turn into much more. I didn't want the whole day to be about yearning to leave the office for the upcoming dinner and I didn't want the dinner to be just another romantic night for two... So, I felt compelled to turn up the notch of giving that day and see what that could do. During the work day, I began in small ways. I inserted a few more quarters, dimes, and nickels, into the vending machines at work for the staff, so that something extra jingled inside for the next hungry worker. I posted smile signs in the lobby which gave clear instructions on how to smile as employees entered the office, either before their morning cup of coffee or right before a meeting with their boss. I drafted some powerful words of inspiration on colorful strips of paper and decorated my cube, so that any colleagues who came by, might just stop for ... Read Full Story >>