At Thanksgiving, I am Grateful for Valuable Lessons I learn Each Day…

Each and every one of us has the power to impact other lives with no more than the simple little things we do. What a great gift indeed! It turns what we have… into all that we need, and then some. The humblest endeavors such as donating to your local food bank, picking up medication for an elderly neighbor, volunteering to serve a meal to people in need, spending time with a lonely shut-in, thanking a vet for their service to our nation or even dropping a quarter into that expired meter before the meter maid comes along, can change a fellow human being’s day, inspiring hope and love in the process. 

Sometimes it feels as though our world is spinning out of control but you can be the change it needs, one small good deed at a time. 

As I write this blog I cannot help but recall something that I witnessed in church one Sunday afternoon. A man came in and took a seat in the pew in front of James and me. He appeared to be homeless. His cothes were dishevaled, his hair was wild and he was unshaved. What’s more; his body shook and quaked as though he may have suffered from cerebral palsy (a possible explaination for his appearance). As others began to fill up the church, no one would take a seat next to the young man. Although he sat alone in the pew, he didn’t seem to notice or perhaps he had become immuned to the treatment. In any case, the fellow kept to himself and didn’t make a move when the greeter asked everyone to turn and introduce themselves to someone they did not know; a custom in our church to help encourage a sense of community. I am embarrassed to report, that I didn’t push the issue. 

The mass progressed and the young man followed along as best he could. Then it happened… it was time for the collection basket to come along. When the basket reached the newcomer, he placed it next to himself on the pew. My first reaction was that he desporatly needed the money inside, but soon my eyes teared as I futher observed him struggle, with his body shaking, he removed his wristwatch; the only thing of worth he wore. When he was finally able to free the watch from his arm, he dropped it into the collection basket and turned to pass the basket along to us. Part of me wanted to take the watch out and deposit more cash on his behalf, then return the timepiece to him after services. It was then I realized that there was no amount I could have put into that basket that could rival his genorosity. I knew in my heart that in the pureness of his action, laid the true spirit of stewardship and it would be wrong to take the selfless deed away from the youngman. 

As church let out, he disappeared into the crowd as though he were somehow magiclly transported out of sight. I hoped that he would return to Saint Ann’s Church so that I may actually introduce myself and get to know him. I searched for him for weeks on end but to date, I have never seen the young man again. I often wonder if he knows what a valuable lesson he taught me and how much he inspired me to become a better person. 

The funny thing was, I remember watching him and thinking that this poor unfortunate must desperately be in need of something that brought him into our church that day. The reality is, maybe it was I in need of something and God sent him into church to sit it front of me so that I may witness his action firsthand. 

So as you gather around the Thanksgiving table with your loved ones remember that it is you who can make a difference; not only in a person’s life but in our world. Without spending a penny, you have the ability to encourage, inspire, comfort and to love. We are God’s vessels and if each and every one of us does our small part; together we can, in Gandhi words, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” 

God bless you all and Happy Thanksgiving.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “At Thanksgiving, I am Grateful for Valuable Lessons I learn Each Day…

  1. Sharon

    What a wonderful story. I read this out loud to my Husband and daughter (she said you should write a book about it) and we all had tears in our eyes. I witnessed something similar with dad as we visited the gratto in Brooklyn that his dad had built. As we were admiring it, a homeless man pushing a cart came over put a dollar inside the gratto, gave the sign of the cross and went on his way. He never made eye contact with us or even notice that we were there even though we were standing right next to him. My thought was that it was probably part of his daily or weekly routine. I too felt compelled to give him his dollar back and maybe a $20 to go with it but knew that would be more insulting then helpful. Gods life lessons are in all of us. Sometimes we are the ones being taught and sometimes without even knowing we are the teachers. Maybe someone witnessed your good deed today. 🙂

    • My dear little sister… now it is you who brought tears to my eyes. I am a blessed man indeed to have such a wonderful, loving and above all, caring family. You never cease to inspire me. I love you. XO

  2. Jeanne Steinberg

    Amen

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. Lisa Dooley

    Thanks for this Don. A great reminder at this time of year when it is easy to forget.

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