Simple Love. Simple Kindness. Simple joy.
These true to life stories speak for themselves. Don’t let life pass you by. Live, love, and have no regrets.
The Chain of Love
He almost didn’t see the old lady, stranded on the side of the road. But even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her. Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help her for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look safe, he looked poor and hungry.
He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill which only fear can put in you.
He said, “I’m here to help you ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Bryan.”
Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid. Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. She asked him how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She had already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped.
Bryan never thought twice about the money just about helping someone in need, and God knows, there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.
He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance that they needed, and Bryan added, “…and think of me.” He waited until she started her car and drove off.
It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.
A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her.
Her waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The lady noticed that the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude.
The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan. After the lady finished her meal, and the waitress went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, the lady slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. She wondered where the lady could be, then she noticed something written on the napkin under which were four $100 bills. There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote. It said: “You don’t owe me anything, I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you.”
Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard.
She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered softly, “It’s going to be all right. I love you, Bryan.”
Grandmother Berg: How true God’s Word is. You know, everything you do comes back sometime, somewhere. It seems uncanny sometimes to see how the law of sowing and reaping works, and how surely God fulfills [His] Word. Whatsoever a man casts out, it returns again on his own life. If he throws out a little kindness in the world, it returns … as a blessing.
All that is given cheerfully and generously to another comes back to you and enriches your life in unexpected ways.—Mottos for Success
The Right Place
God has a way of allowing us to be in the right place at the right time. I was walking down a dimly lit street late one evening when I heard muffled screams coming from behind a clump of bushes. Alarmed, I slowed down to listen and panicked when I realized that what I was hearing were the unmistakable sounds of a struggle—heavy grunting, frantic scuffling, and tearing of fabric. Only yards from where I stood, a woman was being attacked.
Should I get involved? I was frightened for my own safety and cursed myself for having suddenly decided to take a new route home that night. What if I became another statistic? Shouldn’t I just run to the nearest phone and call the police?
Although it seemed an eternity, the deliberations in my head had taken only seconds, but already the cries were growing weaker. I knew I had to act fast. How could I walk away from this? No, I finally resolved, I could not turn my back on the fate of this woman, even if it meant risking my own life.
I am not a brave man, nor am I athletic. I don’t know where I found the moral courage and physical strength—but once I had finally resolved to help the girl, I became strangely transformed. I ran behind the bushes and pulled the assailant off the woman. Grappling, we fell to the ground, where we wrestled for a few minutes until the attacker jumped up and escaped.
Panting hard, I scrambled upright and approached the girl, who was crouched behind a tree, sobbing. In the darkness, I could barely see her outline, but I could certainly sense her trembling shock. Not wanting to frighten her further, I at first spoke to her from a distance. “It’s okay,” I said soothingly. “The man ran away. You’re safe now.”
There was a long pause and then I heard the words, uttered in wonder, in amazement. “Dad, is that you?” And then, from behind the tree, stepped my youngest daughter, Katherine.
Dad: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends!” (Jn.15:13). So we consider that the sharing of ourselves, our love, and our life with others is the greatest of all sharing and our ultimate goal.
Dad: Are you willing to give till it hurts, even until it hurts you? Jesus did: He gave His life! God did: He gave His Son! David did: He said, “I will not give unto the Lord of that which hath cost me nothing!” He gave until it hurt! God gives His Wife, the Church, continually in loving service to others! She is constantly engaged in trying to woo and win the world! Are you willing to give that much if needed? Are you willing to suffer to save others?
A Story to Live By
By Ann Wells, Los Angeles Times
My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite, silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached.
“Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion.” He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”
I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister’s family lived. I thought about all the things that she hadn’t seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.
I’m still thinking about his words, and they’ve changed my life. I’m reading more and dusting less. I’m sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I’m spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I’m trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.
I’m not “saving” anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event, such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends.
“Someday” and “one of these days” are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.
I’m not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food.
It’s those little things left undone that would make me sad if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends whom I was going to get in touch with someday. Sad because I hadn’t written certain letters that I intended to write–one of these days. Sad and sorry that I didn’t tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them. I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives.
And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is … a gift from God.
“One of these days” is none of these days.—Dad
Jesus: If today was your last day in this life and you knew it, how much time would you want to spend on something that means absolutely nothing in the overall scope of eternity? If you were dying of a terminal illness‚ if you knew that I would return tomorrow, or that your life would be over when you went to bed tonight, how much time would you spend watching TV, browsing for entertainment online, watching some unprofitable movie, or reading a pointless novel? Probably not much. Your minutes and hours would be valuable to you. You would have much more to do in those remaining hours than you could fit in, so you would be forcing yourself to choose those things that were most important to you.
The only thing that matters is love. The only things you can take with you are the rewards of obedience and sacrifice. The only things that seem important are things done for Me, and things done for others to make them happy, to help them serve Me better. The things of the world have so little value. That, My loves, is true reality. I know it’s easy to lose that perspective in the day-to-day rush of things. It’s strange how the most unimportant things seem so important. But if you would pray and ask Me to help you live each day as if it were your last‚ your priorities would be clearer. It would be easier for you to make the right choices.