Monday, November 17, 2008

Where's My Tissues?

In my Welcome message for this blog, I promised to inject some "positive" posts to offset my tendency to bitch. I am really not a negative person at heart, its just that I have very little patience; I don't suffer fools at all any more. The ironic thing is that I am far from an unfeeling person. I am easily moved to tears by the smallest kindness. I blubber unabashedly at schmaltzy movies; sometimes in church a well-sung hymn will get me sobbing; and when the media run a story about some of the incredibly giving people we are lucky to have on this earth, I weep like a willow. Here are some stories that sent me running for my tissues:

A Rockwall, Texas woman named Marilyn Mock, recently joined hundreds of others bidding on foreclosed properties in Dallas when she noticed Tracy (no last name reported) crying. Mock asked Tracy what was wrong and the woman explained that she had come to the event to say goodbye to her family's Pottsboro home. When the lot came up, Mock started bidding on the property, eventually buying it for just under $30,000. She then told Tracy that he had bought the home and was giving it back her. While the two still have to work out the details, Tracy and her family get to move back into their home soon. (With all the depressing stories coming out of our current economic crisis, this one gave me a real lift.)

On September 11, 2001 both Engine 202 and Ladder 101 (my son Mike's first company) responded to the call at the World Trade Center. The seven men from Ladder 101 never returned. Both the engine and ladder trucks were destroyed. Upon hearing of the losses, students of the White Knoll Middle School of Columbia, South Carolina raised more than $500,000 to buy a new truck for the firehouse. On June 1, 2002, the leaders of the Columbia, South Carolina Ladder 101 Firetruck fundraising drive traveled to Red Hook in Brooklyn and dedicated the new truck. (You won't find two communities more different than Red Hook and Columbia. What drew them together was the terrible tragedy suffered by all of us that day, and a simple desire to help their fellow Americans.)

It took 14 years of medical school for Dr. Anya Kishinevsky of Darien, CT to become a plastic surgeon — a profession that appealed most to her creative side and her desire to improve her patients’ lives. Last year, she and six other surgeons traveled to the Petchaburri Province in Thailand to perform free reconstructive surgery on children with congenital deformities who would otherwise not have access to such procedures. “Handing these children back to their mothers looking beautiful and repaired was a wonderful experience, really touching,” Kishinevsky said. (There are many doctors who similarly donate their services for kids in need. Next time you want to complain about their new Mercedes, don't.)

John and Jeanette Murphy of Morrow, GA. have four birth children. When they adopted one severely brain damaged child more than 20 years ago, they never realized she would be the first of more than 20. It started when John and Jeanette were working in a group home for the mentally disabled. “Altogether, we’ve adopted twenty-three,” says Jeanette. “They just kept coming,” explains John. “For us, it just isn’t that hard and it’s not that special. Everyone has a different gift and does different things and this just happens to be what we’re doing,” says Jeanette. They get help from Social Security and the kids' Medicaid, and from donations. Local lawyer and children’s rights advocate, Don Keenan, is trying to raise money to get them a larger house. (Any comment of mine would be gratuitous; this speaks for itself.)

Over the years, our family has benefited from acts of kindness from so many people. I won't get into detail because truly kind people do what they do, not for recognition, but literally out of the goodness of their hearts. Some are no longer with us, but happily, many are. We can never adequately thank them, except maybe by paying forward some of that goodness when we get the chance. It's so easy to get discouraged by the emphasis on the negative we constantly see in the media; they live for bad news. The truth is that there is a lot of good news out there, good people who quietly help one another every day. (I really believe that quote from the movie Gladiator: "What We Do in Life Echoes in Eternity".)

Are you looking for a tissue? Good, that should hold you for a while. I will now resume my bitching.


LOOKING FOR A WORTHY CHARITY? TRY THESE FOLKS: Children's Craniofacial Association

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