To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I love this quote because it reminds me of the hope I hold in my heart that if my work makes a difference to someone else then I know my life has had meaning.
It feels good to help others the way that others have helped me. As Emerson said, I breathe easier.
There were times in my life when I felt trapped by illness, depression or the inability to care for myself. During those darkest days I was blessed by the gifts of unconditional love and support from my family.
I also received long distance surprises that helped shine a bright light on me. All of these positive forces from family and friends helped to bring me out of my darkness.
A NaBloPoMo prompt reminded me of this. It said:
“Tell us about one time that you benefitted from the kindness of strangers.”
I liked the idea of this, but what came to mind was the kindness of friends who live far away.
I often write about the short-lived depression I suffered a few summers ago. My hormones were out-of-balance after living through incredible pain, two surgeries and a few other minor procedures. I was in the doldrums with no will to eat, walk or socialize.
I was not myself.
Then something wonderful happened. A package arrived at our front door. My husband brought the box to me and opened it. We unwrapped the beautiful packaging together to find a soft, beautifully knit moss-colored prayer shawl. The card revealed that a special knitting circle from a church in Texas made the shawl especially for me. The card was signed by a dear friend who took part in the circle.
I cried at the beauty of this gesture and wrapped the blanket around me. I felt the love from this group of women envelop me. It was a powerful moment.
A few days later another package arrived and again we unwrapped it together. Inside we found a brightly painted piece of artwork with the word “BLESSED” embellished across the bottom. Another powerful moment.
And, yes, a third package arrived at our door. In it was a simple yet spiritually meaningful book that I continue to turn to again and again for comfort. It, too, was a powerful moment in time.
These gifts were unexpected, and together they reminded me of the blessings we have and the joy we derive from the simplest acts of kindness.
“I’ve learned that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance.” ~Anonymous
I often reflect on the miracles that change the course of our lives, and how positive thoughts and deeds help to make that difference. I know it made one in mine.
It’s what brought me back into the light that summer, and gave me the chance to, hopefully, pass that light onto others.
Have you ever received an unexpected surprise that made a difference in your life?