March 25 05:59 AM

Lessons to learn to live in hope

August 26, 2009
Still in search of good news, folks. Those who stop by here regularly probably know from the last couple of entries that my evil twin is trying to control my thoughts. Things haven't been easy lately—and lately includes the last five or so it's difficult sometimes to embrace—heck, to even find—the blessings (which are great and many when I remember to count them.)

This is when readers like Carolyn Laarman come in handy. I ask people to share their good news, and she did in an email. She thought I'd enjoy it and she's right. I like it so much I just have to share:

When we lived in Florida, our area (business) had a lot of street people. Two fellows set a tent up in back of our neighbor's place and lived there for months. We would often fix them supper and take it to them. One Thanksgiving both of them planned on enjoying Thanksgiving at our place. One received an invite from his daughter and went there but the other did spend a good part of the day with us.

Another morning, two fellas were sitting on the steps of the business next door so we cooked them a nice breakfast, took it over on real plates along with coffee in real cups and a thermos of coffee. Guess what? About two years later, a young fellow walked up to my husband at the gas station and said, "You probably don't remember me but you brought me and my friend breakfast one morning on those steps. Because of that, I decided to straighten my life out. I took some schooling and am now working."

There's a lesson in that, isn't there?...

Here's another story Carolyn shared, this one was sent to her:

I 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. Her 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 who always smiles at everyone and says hello anyway. So I thought, this would be a piece of cake!

Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald's one crisp March morning. It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son.

We were standing in line waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, including my own husband. I 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 saw two poor homeless men. As I looked down at the short gentleman closest 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.

The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted. He said, "Coffee is all, Miss." 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 bright blue eyes. That is when I noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on me, judging my every action. I 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 their 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 and began to pat his hand and said, "I did not do this for you. God is here working through me to give you hope." I started to cry as I walked away to rejoin 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 and at that time we knew that only because of the Grace were we able to give at all.

I returned to college on the last evening of class with this story in hand. I turned in my project and the instructor read it. She then looked up at me and said, "Can I share this?" I 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 love and to connect with one another.

In my own way I had touched the people at McDonald's, my husband, my son, my instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I spent as a college student. I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn: unconditional acceptance. After all, we are here to learn and to love.

Thanks, Carolyn, for reiterating the lesson...

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Castle Creek
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