I will never forget the following: I was so moved listening to Steve Hartmen on CBS News. He did one of his “Everyone Has a Story” and this lady certainly did. He had gone somewhere in Wisconsin, randomly found a lady and talked to her. At first, she tried to beg off and actually told him that he was violating her privacy but after they talked for an hour she shared a story that she had never told anyone.
About ten years ago, after her mother had just died and her husband had suddenly walked out on her, she was feeling very low. In fact, she kept thinking about a bottle of pills in her bathroom that she wanted to swallow-all at once. She felt so terrible that she walked toward the bathroom to do just that–suddenly the phone rang.
It was an uncle of hers, just checking in, to see how she was doing. She lied, talked awhile and then got off the phone … to continue to walk toward the bathroom. The phone rang again. This time it was another relative, calling out of the blue, to see how she was doing. Again, she lied and when she could finally get off the phone she walked down the hall toward the bathroom. Unbelievably the phone rang a third time. Now it was a friend from high school that hadn’t called in years, just checking in.
Well, this time, when she hung up, she didn’t go back toward the bathroom. She told Steve, that never, never did she get three calls that close in a row–the phone sometimes didn’t ring for days. She realized that these calls were somehow meant to keep her alive. In fact, she felt that the last caller had saved her life. She never attempted to take her life again.
Steve than went and found the woman who made the third phone call. He asked her if she was aware that she saved her friend’s life. She was totally unaware, and just barely remembered calling to say ‘hello’.
This real life story, told for the first time, is incredible. Not only does it suggest the hand of the great Divine, but also teaches us that we must act. Even the great Divine needs our assistance! We must be in each other’s best interests. We must take the time to check in, to say hello, to see how each other are doing. We never know how much power the simplest gesture may be making on someone else.
Here’s my story-at least the one that comes to me. I remember I was in a play when I was eight. Actually, I had a walk on part, as a ‘child’ in A Streetcar Named Desire, at the local college. The director, Mr. Dickenson, (Can you believe I remember his name?) sent me some flowers and a note thanking me for being in the show and doing a great job. I must have read that note a hundred times!
How hard was it for an eight year old to play being an eight year old and walk across the stage holding a lady’s hand? But he thought my acting was worth noting. Do you know how good I felt? How many times I read that note and memorized it? How special he made me feel? No wonder I remember his name. Thank you, Mr. Dickenson!
Let’s all try to reach out — not only do we all have our stories but we can all wave such wonderful magic wands for each other!