Today I've been truly amazed but the tiny little ways we are all connected. Not only are we connected but we are constantly touched by the actions of others that have no idea we even exist. That means that even YOU are making an impact on people that you have never even dreamed existed! Really! I know this seems such a simple lesson but it's one that I often take for granted and that I don't think about as often as I should. Recently I have made a conscious effort to thank people for the little things whenever I can and I am also trying to do right by other people in the hopes that I can pass on the kindness I have received. Not that I ever do things to be mean or hurtful or any of that stuff. I am generally a kind person and the only person I hate on on a regular basis is myself. Hey, I'm working on that too btw.
Tonight I ran into a couple that I met about 2 years ago. They showed up one morning not long after Logan, Beren, and I had gone back inside after playing outside. They didn't come to my front door like other solicitors do but they came to the back door like family and friends do. They were kind looking and by their dress I had an inkling of what they were here for.
Now, let me say this now -- I am not a very religious person but I have a healthy quest for knowledge and I take opportunities to learn about spirituality from some unlikely people and places. I don't want to form concrete opinions about God and define what he/she is/isn't but I want to know about religion and I want to have faith. I'm a work in progress LOL...
This couple were Witnesses and they wanted to talk about Jehovah with me. My first reaction was to be polite and take their publication but to tell them I was not interested in talking. Then something in me decided that their decision to approach my house differently, the fact that I just felt comfortable with them and that they didn't automatically start in on their message made me stop. We chatted for a few minutes outside and they asked if they might come back by sometime so that we could chat a bit more. I said sure but I don't know if I thought then that they would come back. They did and for over a year and a half I talked to them often. They taught me about their beliefs and they answered my questions about their faith with patience and honesty. I kept an open mind throughout our conversations and I felt that they did the same with me even though I didn't share their convictions or passions. Eventually, despite our connections on a more friendly and social basis, we decided to take a break from talking religion. It was a hard decision for me to make because I really liked this couple a lot but there was no way I could be Witness and I really had run out of religious questions for them. After that we stayed in contact through e-mail and I saw them occasionally at the grocery store or other places.
Tonight I ran into them again and I took this opportunity to thank them for the time they spent with me and for all that they shared with me. Although their religion was not for me I learned a great deal from them and I appreciated their openness and willingness to share with me even when it was obvious I was not like minded. The wife then stunned me. She thanked me for all the time I spent with them. Their time with me brought up a lot of things for them to think about and a lot of unanswered questions that they had within themselves as well. For them it meant the beginning of a new spiritual journey and they were excited. I don't know if she was just being nice but I was really touched. Not touched because I had made them question their faith. I don't want to give the wrong idea here. I am touched because the three of us made a connection. We just did what we normally do, day in and day out, but in doing that we made a difference in someones life.
Another example from today has also left me with a warmed heart. Last week in lecture our professor showed Romania: What Happened to the Children? (Turning Point, 1997) which was about families who adopted Romanian orphans in the early 1990's. It focuses on how many families discovered that thousands of the adopted orphans suffered from childhood trauma and neglect that would be irreversible. I remembered seeing this program when it originally aired and watching it again so many years later really threw me for a loop. Now I am the mother of three and I have lived so much since then. I felt so strongly for the parents of these incredible children and also for the plight of these orphans and for the kids that had been adopted. All week one little girl from the program stuck in my mind. I remembered her name and where her adoptive family lived at the time of the Turning Point program so for kicks I put that into Google. Immediately I found a few articles about this particular young woman (now in her late teens) and I was so amazed and unbelievably proud of how far she has come. She began her life as a neglected infant and toddler in a severely overcrowded orphanage in Romania. At the time of her adoption at the age of 2 she had the basic abilities of only a 6 month old. She could not feed herself, stand up, or communicate. In the Turning Point program she was in school but it had been shown that her brain function was terribly altered by her early years of neglect. This did not sway her mother though and she was a true champion for her daughter. Now this girl is a straight A student and she has grown into a beautiful and accomplished young woman. When we discussed the program in lecture this evening it was exciting to share an update about this particular girl. You'd have thought she was my own kid the way my smile beamed for her!
I sent this lovely young woman a brief e-mail to thank her and her mother for sharing their story. I was so moved by it and since our world has grown ever so much smaller with the advent of technology I felt compelled to thank them. And you know what? She wrote me back this evening! I am indeed on cloud nine this evening. What a great experience this is and it makes me feel so positive.
These are just examples from today but there are so many tiny connections that I am becoming aware of on so many levels right now. To those of you reading this please let me thank YOU for coming by and for just you being you!