An elderly man went to visit his family doctor. As he was preparing to leave the patient said,
“Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.”
Very quietly, the doctor said, “I don’t know.”
The man then quickly responded:
“You don’t know? You are a man of God and you do not know what is on the other side?”
The doctor was holding the handle of the door. On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room with an eager show of gladness. Turning to the patient, the doctor said,
“Did you notice my dog? He didn’t know what was inside this room. He knew nothing except that his master was here. When the door opened, he sprang in with gladness and without fear.”
“I know little of what is on the other side of death. But I do know one thing, I know my Master is there, and that is enough.”
When Julio Diaz stepped off the New York City subway platform after work one night, he was simply planning to walk over to his favorite local diner for a meal. But when a teenage boy approached him with a knife in his hand, Diaz, a 31-year-old social worker, knew the evening was about to take a more dramatic turn.
The young man demanded Diaz’s wallet, and Diaz passed it over without objection. But just as his mugger turned to walk away, Diaz called after him:
“Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something.”
The mugger turned around, surprised.
“If you’re going to be out on the streets for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm.”
The teenager looked at Diaz in disbelief and asked why he would do such a thing. Diaz replied,
“!f you’re willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money.”
He then told the young man that he’d just been heading out for dinner and that he would be happy for some company.
“You know, I just felt maybe he really needs help,” Diaz told NPR’s StoryCorps.
The young mugger decided to take Diaz up on his offer, and they headed into Diaz’s favorite local diner together. As they were sitting at the table, the manager, the dishwashers, and the waiters all stopped over to say hello to Diaz, and the young man was really surprised at his popularity.
“You’re even nice to the dishwasher,” he exclaimed.
“Haven’t you been taught that you should be nice to everybody?” Diaz asked him.
“Yea, but I didn’t think people actually behaved that way,” the teenager replied.
Thanks to Diaz, he was beginning to see that kindness wasn’t such a strange phenomenon, after all. When the bill came, Diaz told the teen that the teen would have to get the check. After all, he still had Diaz’s wallet.
The teenager slid the wallet back across the table without a moment’s thought, and Diaz treated him to dinner. Diaz then gave the would-be mugger $20. He figured maybe it’ll help him. But, Diaz asked for something in return, the teen’s knife. And he gave it to him.
“I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right,” Diaz said.
“It’s as simple as it gets in this complicated world.”
~ The author is Michael Garofalo who wrote the story for the Morning Edition of National Public Radio. You can hear the interview between the author and Julio Diaz by clicking here ~
A teacher in New York decided to honor each of her high school seniors for the difference they made in her life. Then she presented each of them with a Blue Ribbon imprinted with gold letters, which read, “Who I Am Makes a Difference.”®
Afterwards, the teacher gave each of the students three more ribbons to acknowledge others, to see what impact it would have in their community. They were to follow up on the results, see who honored whom and report back to the class the following week.
One of the students honored a junior executive in a nearby company for helping him with his career planning. The student gave him a blue ribbon and put it on his shirt just over his heart. Then the boy gave him two extra ribbons, explained their class project on acknowledgment and enlisted the executive’s help.
Later that day the junior executive went into his boss and told him that he deeply admired him for being a creative genius. The junior executive asked him if he would accept the gift of the blue ribbon and would he give him permission to put it on him.
His surprised boss said, “Well, sure.” After placing the ribbon above his boss’ heart, he asked him to support the efforts of the class project and pass on the extra ribbon. That night the grouchy boss went home to his 14-year-old son and sat him down. He said,
“The most incredible thing happened to me today. I was in my office and one of the junior executives came in and told me he admired me and gave me this blue ribbon for being a creative genius. Imagine. He thinks I’m a creative genius. Then he put this blue ribbon that says ‘Who I Am Makes a Difference’® on my jacket above my heart. Next, he gave me an extra ribbon and asked me to find somebody else to honor.”
“As I was driving home tonight, I started thinking about whom I would honor with this ribbon and I thought about you, son. I want to honor you.”
“My days are really hectic and when I come home I don’t pay a lot of attention to you. Sometimes I scream at you for not getting good enough grades in school or for your bedroom being a mess. But somehow tonight, I just wanted to sit here and, well, just let you know that you do make a difference to me. Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life.
“You’re a great kid and I love you!”
The startled boy started to sob and sob, and he couldn’t stop crying. His whole body shook. He walked over to a drawer, pulled out a gun, stared at his father and, through his tears said,
“I was planning on committing suicide tomorrow, Dad, because I didn’t think you loved me. Now I don’t need to.”
When we show love and kindness to another, a wave is created the ripples through many lives.
~ The author is Helice Bridges who in 1983 founded Difference Makers International so that every child would grow up in a safe, supportive, nurturing environment in which they would know that who they are making a difference. Today the “Who I Am Makes A Difference” Blue Ribbon Programs have impacted the lives of over 26 million people throughout the world. To Order Blue Ribbons please call 800-997-8422 or go online to www.blueribbons.org ~
It started to happen gradually. One day, I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand, and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him,
“Who is that with you, young fella?”
“Nobody,” he shrugged.
“Nobody?” said the crossing guard, and I laughed. My son is only 5, but as we crossed the street I thought, “Oh, my goodness, nobody?”
I would walk into a room, and no one would notice. I would say something to my family like, “Turn the TV down, please,” – and nothing would happen. Nobody would get up, or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a little louder,
“Would someone turn the TV down?”
That’s when I started to put all the pieces together. I don’t think he can see me. I don’t think anyone can see me.
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.
She’s going – she’s going – she’s gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean.
My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip, and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said,
“I brought you this.”
It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: “To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”
In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
* No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. * These builders gave their whole lives for a work they might never see finished. * They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. * The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam! He was puzzled and asked the man,
“Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.” And the workman replied,
“Because God sees it.”
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me,
“I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.”
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving,
“My Mom gets up at 4:00 a.m. in the morning and bakes homemade pies, bastes the turkey for three hours, and then presses the linens for the table.”
That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add,
“You’re gonna love it there.”
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
~ Written by Nicole Johnson who is s bestselling author, performer, and motivational speaker and is a sought-after creative communicators in America today. Her unique ability to blend humor with compassion as she captures the inner-most feelings of women facing life’s daily struggles, has enabled her to create a unique sense of community for people of all ages. Her web site is a most enjoyable visit at https://www.nicolejohnson.org ~