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Lessons, yes I am still learning...

by Barbara MacDonald (writer), CANADA , February 21, 2013

Credit: unknown
the smallest act of kindness can change a life
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Being able to help someone in a small way is really more a gift to myself...it makes my own heart grow ...

I had to call myself out last week. I found my self thinking wrongly , and doing something I would not do in good conscience .

I had gone out after digging myself out from a huge snow storm, so perhaps my mood was not quite right at the time. This is not an excuse that I will allow myself though.

I arrived at the grocery store I normally shop at. I go there as I find they have a great selection plus very reasonable prices. I personally hate wasting money when shopping for food, as I am very aware of so many that do not have enough to buy the proper food for themselves or their family. I witnessed this first hand after working so many years with the homeless as well as many single parents doing it all on their own.

One thing that I did with the families I worked with , was teach them budgeting. I also would take them shopping trying to show them different ways to get more for their money. Educating them in nutrition, and providing them with many recipes which they could use to feed their family, as well as possible, on a limited budget.

Okay, let me get back to what I wanted to share . I have a firm belief that we all have so much more that we can give to others to enrich them and "pay it forward"
It can be as simple as a smile given to a stranger or even just holding the door open for someone. It does not have to be a huge gesture to carry meaning or be appreciated. There are times though, that we are in the right place, at the right time, being able to help another human being .

This is why I always think of going out as a new adventure, because I never know whose life I may touch in a small way. I was disappointed in myself when this happened the other day. I knew almost instantly that I could not walk by and do nothing.

When I was walking into the store I saw a young black man standing outside. He had asked me if I could help him with some money for food. I had not answered him, just shook my head no and went inside the store. I proceeded to look for the list of things I needed, but somehow his face was playing in my mind. I was not comfortable with myself for being so blatantly uncaring. I know often people will ask for money for food and it goes instead to booze or drugs. I am playing this situation out in my mind, asking myself what is the best way to handle this. My decision actually was quite easy as I was in the perfect place to do the right thing. Let me buy some food and give this to the young man. Then I know he is getting food . I bought him some staples...milk, bread, fruit, vegetables, and some meat. Oh , and a chocolate bar because we all should have some treat too. I ended up not getting all the things I thought I needed ...as reality is that I have plenty of food and it seemed more important to do this instead.

I had not even thought if he would still be there when I left, but thankfully he was. I returned my shopping cart then walked back to speak with him. I am very straightforward , so I asked him if he wanted money for food or if it was for something else...He smiled at me, looked me straight in the eye and said food...he was hungry and had lost his job a couple of months ago. His eyes were clear and truthful... I gave him the bags of food I had bought and told him maybe this would help some. What a wonderful smile I got from him...I had a look inside his heart I do believe. We ended up talking for around an hour, giving him a list of places to go to get more help. Job centers, places that provide free meals, and I also sent him to the place I worked for years telling him to ask for Jackie and tell her Barbara sent him. This way I knew he would get extra help. The last thing I said to him was thank you. "Thank you for being so gracious as to allow me to help you in this small way..Maybe someday you will pay it forward, blessinngs "

This was simply a small way to help someone in need, and I knew he was put in my path for a reason. A little of my time, a small amount of money, and some needed information may just be able to help him turn things around. I pray so. More importantly, I knew I had done the right thing in my humble opinion.

Now I know we can not help everyone, but there are times when someone is meant to cross our paths , and we can gift another human being with a simple gesture of caring .



About the Writer

Barbara MacDonald is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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15 comments on Lessons, yes I am still learning...

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By HomeRearedChef on February 22, 2013 at 04:13 pm

No, we cannot help everyone that is in need, but if the opportunity is there, and it feels right, then we must follow our hearts.

Awesome post mi Amiga! :)

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By Uttam Gill on February 23, 2013 at 12:48 am

Barb, I just wonder, how many people are like you...The kind of passion you hold in you to help others is certainly amazing...You understands the problems of the others and your kind heart is so always willing to help. This account of yours say it so clearly...If we all do the same thing for the needy surely it would bring smile on to the face of those people who are less blessed...

I wish I could emulate your act in whatever way I can...Barb you are a role model for many who wish to help the poor, destitute, sick, abused...

Never give up on this...You are amazing Barb...so proud of you

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By HomeRearedChef on February 23, 2013 at 03:16 pm

Uttam, I second that, that Barbara IS someone to emulate. :)

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By melanie jean juneau on February 23, 2013 at 04:02 pm

lovely..so true. Mother Theresa agrees with you

Stay where you are

Find your own Calcutta.

Find the sick, the sufferingand the lonely right there where you are —

in your own homes and

in your own families,in your workplaces andin your schools. …You can find Calcutta all over the world,

if you have the eyes to see.

Everywhere,wherever you go,

you find people who are unwanted,unloved,uncared for,just rejected by society

—completely forgotten,completely left alone.”

– Blessed Mother Teresa †

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By Barbara MacDonald on February 23, 2013 at 04:26 pm

Thank you dear friend...you always touch my heart with your kindness...Buenos diazs mi amiga..you humble me...

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By Barbara MacDonald on February 23, 2013 at 04:33 pm

Oh Melanie, that is so beautiful and expresses so well how I see the world and my life. I found this missing part of my self when I finally went back to work after divorcing and having three children to raise on my own. I walked after from a well paying job in corporate sales as I knew I had to follow my heart and do something that brought purpose to me.

Everyday is an adventure, every person we meet we have the ability to connect with . We have so much more inside us that we do not always tap into . I am just grateful that years ago mine eyes were opened to what my true purpose would be in life.

You too humble me my friend...so kind of you and thank you for that beautiful quote from Mother Theresa...(another mentor)

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By Barbara MacDonald on February 23, 2013 at 04:35 pm

Dear Uttam...you have the ability to touch souls with your thoughts and words, remember that and how very special you are...you never need to emulate me... just be wonderful giving you and let your beautiful kind heart guide you always. Thank you so much for always being there for me and with me. hugs

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By melanie jean juneau on February 23, 2013 at 04:45 pm

and you are my mentor

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By Barbara MacDonald on February 23, 2013 at 05:08 pm

Oh Melanie, you made me cry...I am simply me, and yes we have so much in common...I feel your beautiful heart and soul...thank you...hugs

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By riginal on February 24, 2013 at 06:18 am

Barb you are the epitome of everything that is good in this world."Doing the right thing" is effortless for you.

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By Barbara MacDonald on February 24, 2013 at 10:01 am

Blushing...thank you Riginal. I was taught by my beautiful Mother what was right and wrong...to this day, she still guides my life and I am eternally grateful to her.

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By HomeRearedChef on February 27, 2013 at 03:51 pm

Riginal, that "doing the right thing" for Barbara is "effortless," well, I couldn't agree with you more. :)

@Barbara: We love you, dear friend!

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By Debbie D.B. on February 28, 2013 at 06:39 pm

That's a wonderful thing you did, Barbara! While I do donate to food banks and charities, when people on the street ask me for money, I pass them by, for the very reasons you mentioned. I bet you really made a difference in this man's life.

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By Barbara MacDonald on February 28, 2013 at 09:37 pm

Thank you Debbie.... and I do understand what you are saying...This young man was at the perfect place for me to do what I felt was best...actually give him food and spend some time to give him some useful information. Having worked so long with many people, I mostly am able to tell if they are using drugs or alcohol, is why often I will simply buy them a coffee or burger or something, rather than give them money. I hope he is able to find work and get back on his feet. I know the one job place I sent him is excellent and I have had many people find work with their help. So hopefully he will do okay there too.

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By Barbara MacDonald on March 01, 2013 at 09:16 am

Thank you Virginia, you make me feel very loved dear friend. hugs...:-)

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