Thursday, March 15, 2012

7 QuickTakes- You never know...

...when your words or actions are just what someone really needs.
1. Years ago, I was teaching English in Gaming, Austria to a group of Central and Eastern Europeans. This teaching situation was an ESL paradise. The little village is my island from Lost. Like many, I didn't fully appreciate the gift that those four years gave me. It was a very intensive teaching experience. I started there at 22 years old, new to teaching, new to travel, new to Europe, new to living off a $100 stipend plus room and board. One year, I made a long list of optional activities for my students to do during the long ten day break in Fall. The Americans would travel to Ireland or Greece. The post-communist Europeans would normally stay on campus. In the middle of the week, I came home to see a beautiful Fall leaf wreath on my door. The colors were magenta red and neon yellow; colors that only seem to get that awesome there. I had put 'make a wreath from the fall leaves" on my assignment list. I didn't think anyone would take me up on that suggestion. I'm glad someone did, and I'm glad someone secretly put it on my door. It was a ray of sunshine during a beautiful, but lonely time.
2. Sometimes a random conversation can have seriously good consequences. I was talking with a friend of mine and she was telling me of yet another surgery for her hands that she'd be going through soon. She had to quit being an ER nurse because of this disability. I said sort of off the cuff: "I hope you are 'offering up' all this pain and stress." She looked at me with wide eyes, "What's that?" I explained in my very non-theologian way that all suffering can be offered to God for a specific intention, uniting us in a small way to His cross and giving a concrete benefit for our suffering. I was surprised she hadn't heard of this before. I thought nothing of it until last week when she said that it was an earth-shattering concept for her that has helped her through a lot of physical pain. A simple conversation helped her. Wow. And then, it got even better. She now thinks of her hand disability as a blessing. She can't work full-time as a nurse, but she and her husband are training to be infant foster parents to expand their family of four. 

3. A big 'you never know' moment in my life was when I picked up a hitchhiker and her two young children. I was a poor, full-time college student, living at home and working full-time. When I saw her in the rain, I just had to pick her up. If I didn't, maybe someone bad would have picked them up. You never know...I bought them some fried chicken and a big jug of milk and made my way to a shelter in the next city. Then, I got into a minor fender bender. Milk dripping from the ceiling, the car could be driven, but I had to exchange information with a very elegant, very peeved lady. I had to wipe the milk off my glasses to see the paper where I wrote down my information. I don't pick up hitchhikers now, but I am glad I did that day.

4. You never know who is going to be an important part of life. Five years ago, I made a meal for a woman on our homeschooling list who had had a back surgery. I didn't think much of it then, but our relationship has grown so that she was the one to babysit the children for a doctor's appointment that grew to me being in the Labor and delivery for two days before Baby Girl was born. These kinds of relationships are so important when the closest family in almost 1,000 miles away.

5. "How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong.  Because someday in your life you will have been all of these."  ~George Washington Carver

"You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach."  ~Winston Churchill

"No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves." Amelia Earhart

6. Right now, a two-night guest is turning into a one-month, probably a three-month guest. You never know, this might be what we need. But in any case, this bit of life won't be blogged.

7. Yes, I wrote this blog post just a few days ago, but it might be 'just what you need' right now and I don't want you to miss it. The actual post, links inside the post or the comments  might be what you need- Family Size Does Not Equal Birth Control for thought....

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  1. You're so right. I love your posts. I've had the question you asked in a caption in a previous post in the pack of my mind all week (That wouldn't be keeping with the spirit of the fast, would it?).

    And having been on both the receiving and giving end of moments like these, I think I need to pay more attention to the times when I can be the presence of Christ to someone.

  2. O my... One thing leads to another and you just never know. Until last night I had never seen your blog. I did "the simple woman's daybook" yesterday and last night went back to read what others had written. The name of your blog caught my eye. I became a follower and in this morning's reader this post showed up. Got me thinking about some of the stepping stones in my life, lots of sweet memories. Thanks. Then I saw your "#7" and went to check out that post. You are are sooo right. I have two children, nine and a half years apart. I had an etopic pregnancy when my daughter was about two. When we had FINALLY had our son I knew this was a miracle. There were no more children. Now I'm really believing both children are miracles. We were a sponsor couple for several years. Young, engaged couples would show up at our doorstep and at some point one of the would get the courage to ask how we only had two children. Catholic and two children? How do you do that? We tried to gently explain that we would have had more, we wanted and prayed for more and eventually accepted that God knew what was best. I do not know if they believed us, but I wanted so much for them to realize CHILDREN ARE A BLESSING. Period. Now I wish I could explain to them GOD STILL LOVES US EVEN WHEN THE ANSWER IS NO. It doesn't make the pain go away, it's hard to except a NO when you believe this is what you were put on this earth to do... We make our plans but God directs our feet. Sorry to rattle on, thanks for making me think about what a blessed life I have.

  3. CJoy- I'm glad you are here!'

    an etopic pregnancy is horrible- I am really sorry for your loss. Isn't it the worst when the body betrays us- I thought body/soul/spirit are supposed to be allies.

  4. Thank you so much for #5- lovely, meaningful quotes.


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