Perusing the web for research this week, I came across a story that elicited both tears and smiles. Don’t you love stories like that?!
This was a story that softened my world that day.
A tale of compassion, in contrast to the unyielding voices of television, radio, and my apps that seem only to spew noise of chaos, angry protests, and division.
This tale reminded me that good stories, beautiful stories, noble stories are indeed happening in our world.
Stories… you may have to dig to find.
Which makes them all the more precious.
This story takes place on a country, rural road in middle America.
In a town known as Park Hills, Missouri. A “city,” as they call it, with 8,759 residents.
It’s about a letter, an invitation, an answer… and a calling.
In April of this year… five months ago, Marlene Brooks received a letter that has changed her life. An invitation… of sorts.
The letter read,
Would you consider being my friend?
I’m 90 years old, live alone,
and all my friends have passed away.
I am so lonesome and scared.
Please, I pray for someone.”
Wanda Mills didn’t know Marlene Brooks’ name, though they were neighbors across the street and two houses down.
But she was lonely and needed a friend.
And decided to take a chance.
She invited Marlene Brooks to be her friend.
A friend that now visits at least 4 times a week. A friend with a young family that has brought 90-year-old Wanda into their fold.
A friend, who answered a call, a plea… an invitation.
The following is a CBS News video of her story.
I’m currently reading a beautiful book by Bri McKoy entitled, “Come and Eat: A Celebration of Love and Grace Around the Everyday Table.”
It’s a book about invitations. A book about tables, a theme which reminds me of a post I wrote months ago on “The Family Table.”
It’s a book about giving and receiving; opening our lives, our homes and especially our tables to those in need.
I’ve been challenged this week to remember compassion. To not allow the busyness of life to prevent my eyes from seeing, my ears from hearing, and my heart from feeling and recognizing the needs around me.
To RSVP to invitations.
To show up… and give… and create community around me.
And while I may not believe what I have to give is all that important. And while I may not feel especially blessed, or gifted, or talented, or resourceful… I can extend my ear, my heart, and my attention. I can invite, I can respond, I can connect.
Charles Dickens once said,
“No one is useless in this world
who lightens the burdens of another.”
And in so doing, you will reap an abundance of blessing. Your life will matter, it will be counted, it will reap rewards.
Today will become… a beautiful day. Because you will have lived… today.
“You have not lived today
until you have done something
for someone who can never repay you.”
— John Bunyan
Is there an RSVP that needs your attention?
Is there a letter waiting for your reply?
Do you know someone who needs a friend?
Consider opening your table, inviting family, neighbors, friends, colleagues or acquaintances to share a meal at your table.
And if you need some food ideas — we can help! We’ve posted some yummy recipes this week! Like… Homemade Mac & Cheese… it’s easy comfort food!
Hug your loved ones’ extra tight and–
Have a beautiful week!
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