In 2019 periodic blog posts will be dedicated to stories that inspire and focus on the good that surrounds us.
Have you heard the story of the Biology Professor from Missouri University that won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry last December and is donating the whole $250,000 prize to form a scholarship fund for students trying to attend the state’s College of Arts and Sciences? Professor George Smith is choosing to pay it forward to help students achieve their education goals while revealing his humility and generosity.
Or what about the story of the police officer in Woodbridge, New Jersey that responded
to a 911 call by a boy with autism who reported he needed help finding his teddy bear. Because the boy hung up before the operator could respond, they had to send an officer to the address. Luckily, Officer Khari Manzini had recently had training on dealing with citizens with special needs and was able to determine young Ryan’s needs and helped him find the teddy bear.
And my favorite story I found was about Patricia Murray who was a homeless woman on the streets of Washington, DC and found herself in front of a judge, suffering from drug and alcohol addiction and no place to go and no family to help her. The judge told her she had a problem and then sent her to rehab. When she came out of rehab and into Hannah House, a residential facility for woman in crisis or transition, Patricia had some choices to make. While at the facility she met a nun who connected her to a nursing home facility that hired her for 3 hours a day at $5.25. She framed her first paycheck. She began eating dinner at the home and a resident came and ate with her every night and talked with her. That resident’s encouragement to keep on going led her to a full-time job at the nursing home and a love for the residents that recently earned her the Ceca Foundation Caregiver Award. She said her life was changed because of a judge, a nun and hundreds of nursing home residents.
When the news and current events start to weigh heavy on my spirit, I like to find these inspirational stories of real people living their life in inspirational and Jesus-like ways. We are reminded that loving others really does matter. And that we probably have more serendipitous opportunities to love others than we realize on a weekly basis.
My hope for you and for me is that when we have the chance to interact with others that they can experience the grace and love of Jesus by what we do and say. I know I don’t always accomplish that as well as I hope. But I keep trying. I keep trying to sync up my heart and my intent with my choice of words and tone. And certainly, when someone else treats me with kindness, caring, respect and generosity, I notice. I see Jesus in them.
So as you think on Professor Smith, Officer Manzini and Patricia Murray, may you be filled with hope that the part God created in us humanity is indeed very good and is not tarnished. Like Jesus said at the end of so many of his teachings, “go and do likewise.”
Grace and Peace,