Archive | Angels RSS feed for this section

Angels in our midst?

30 Apr

The beginning of April found me flying to Guanajuato, Mexico with four friends from the Ashland Rotary Club. We are working with the Rotary Club of Guanajuato to bring fresh water to the rural areas of the region.

school for the deaf

In the week there, we also toured the School for the Deaf in San Miguel Allende, planted trees at a preschool, and met with many selfless people who are dedicated to serving others. I was honored to be a part of that team.

Here I am with my friend, Angelica, and my wonderful hosts, Oscar and Marta.

OSCAR AND MARTA
While in Mexico I got a message from my sister that my Dad was once again in the hospital, so instead of returning home at the end of the week, I took a plane from Los Angeles to Florida to visit him.

At first, he spent a few days in the ICU and it was very hard to see him suffering. What helped make the situation bearable was that my sister and daughter were with me and the fact that my Dad had several amazing nurses. My favorite nurse, Nicole, hailed from Kentucky and made the experience much easier to handle.

me with Dad
Nicole had such a gentle way with Dad (and with us) and I wanted to show our thanks so, of course, I made her and the night nurse each an apple pie.  It was really fun to see the happy smiles when we delivered them!  Surprising people with pie just happens to be one of my favorite things… (Sound of Music soundtrack anyone?)

apple pie
After ten days in Florida, with Dad stable and in rehab, I was ready to go home. I went to the airport for my flight with United and saw a huge crowd at my gate. The details are too long to go into, but the final result was that I gave up my seat in exchange for travel money and a flight home the following day. I was happy as I’d see my Dad one more time and the travel credits will come in handy, but what blew me away was that the gate agent, Beth, booked me in first class all the way home!  If I could have, I’d have made her a pie too but instead I gave her a pretty shell and thanked her for her grace and calm under pressure.

A few days after I was home, I realized that I had a couple of gift certificates from Shooting Star  Nursery that had expired during my extended trip. When I called and told them what had happened, an employee told me that he thought the owners would likely be understanding and jokingly added “especially if I brought something I’d baked myself.”

Clearly he didn’t know who he was taking to!  Yesterday I walked into the office and surprised a few employees with a warm pie. When I shared what I’d been told on the phone the young man in charge said I didn’t have to do that… But really, I did!  Later the crew sent me a sweet text message thanking me for the pie. I was so glad to receive it.

Life is full of challenges and every one of us has “stuff” to deal with. I think we all do the best we can… but still, life can be hard. That’s why it’s nice when every now and then we get a helping hand with that “stuff” thanks to the kindhearted strangers (or are they angels?) who we meet along the way.

“We are each of us angels with only one wing; and we can only fly by embracing one another.” ~ Luciano de Crescenzo

Advertisements

A Wonderful Life for Someone else may be lacking one ingredient: You

26 Jan

It's a Wonderful Life

The movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” centers around the life of George Bailey, a man with big dreams who ends up living his life humbly and honorably in the small town where he grew up.  At one point in the film, George contemplates suicide because he is in a desperate financial situation and he has been led to believe that he is worth more dead than alive (via his insurance policy). Fortunately, George is helped to see the true value of his life (the good he’s done, the friends he’s made, the family he is a part of) byway of Clarence, an angel who wants to earn his wings.  In the final scene we witness George Bailey surrounded by his family, friends, and neighbors. They have all come because they heard that he was in trouble and they wanted to help. As George is letting this all sink in, his brother, Harry, raises a glass to toast him saying, “To my big brother, George, the richest man in town.”

The first time I saw that film, I was barely out of my teens.  My Mom had suggested I watch it as it was the late night movie that day and I must have looked a bit sad coming home from a date.  The movie grabbed my from the start and I watched transfixed til the end and hoped that my sobs were not loud enough to wake the rest of the family.  Clearly, the film had made an impact.

Why do I tell this story?  I suppose it is because I am often reminded that it is the little things that we do that really matter the most… the friendships we make, the kindness we offer, the joy that comes from shared experiences… even when things don’t go as planned.  In fact, often those times are the most memorable.

For the past week, Emile and I have been in Mexico and a few days ago we were able to meet up with old friends.  They drove five hours to spend time with us (okay, they were also going to the beach).  Neither of us is fluent in the other’s language… my Spanish is fair at best) but we find ways to communicate.  We spent two days together discovering new beaches: Boca de Iguanas (the sign near the bay there says “No Swimming: Crocodiles”), Tenicatita (no amenities and a military presence made this beach unappealing), before settling at Melaque for swimming, working a jigsaw puzzle, and sipping Modelos.

P1030724ramirez family in barra

Karen and Rosalba;  David, Miriam, Leslie, Rosalba with me and Emile

The day our friends arrived, I made a coconut cream pie to share with them and one of our favorite restaurateurs. Unfortunately, that taco stand was closed that day and so we found another taqueria and made new friends there.  I gave the pie to our waiter and asked him to please keep it cold until we’d eaten.  After our dinner, I went to retrieve it and when he opened th fridge we saw the pie tilted on its side oozing out of the pie tin.  The worried look on his face was instantly removed when I laughed and told him that it was okay… it was after all, just a pie!  As it was a few days before David’s birthday, we sang to him and each enjoyed a bit of mushy pie.  Life is good!

P1030760

After David and his family left, we returned to our usual routine… walking the beach… and for me, that also means searching for shells.  As we were standing by a fisherman, I found a particularly strange one and showed it to him explaining that I loved the surprises that come with each wave.  He looked at the shell and said what I had was a “regala de la mar” using the same words as the title of Anne Morrow Lindbergh‘s book, Gift from the Sea.  My thoughts exactly!

Later in the day, we sat under an umbrella and the waves kept bringing up bits of plants.  The tiny older woman who had rented us a table looked so small compared to the task she faced at cleaning the beach (read: impossible), and so for a little while I raked for her. You can imagine the looks I received from locals and tourists alike… but I just needed to do something!  Afterwards, the old woman and I laughed at the never-ending process and shared a moment of understanding. Pretty amazing how easy it is to do that if you give it a shot.

That evening we found our way to our first taqueria bearing a Chocolate Cream Pie.  I’d been told the day before by Mario, our young waiter, that the reason they were closed was so that the whole family could celebrate his 13th birthday. That must have made him feel pretty special!  And I wanted to honor him as well… and what else would I give him but a pie?

P1030814

As I close, I want to leave you with this thought: we really never know what another person is going through… and our words and actions may be the one thing that makes or breaks their day. I’m sure it wouldn’t take long to think of a situation in your world needing help.  Maybe you can’t fix it… but it is likely can make a small difference. We simply can’t rely on angels like Clarence to do it for us… sometimes, it is up to us.

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. Dalai Lama