Yesterday I got an unexpected email and I had what Oprah would call a “full circle moment.” (I am so over Oprah, so I hate to even quote her, but that is really what it felt like to me.) What touched me so much about the email is how a series of very simple things made such a huge impact on the person sending me the email. And, in turn, made a huge impact on me.
A little backstory
So in high school I had a boyfriend. We broke up, but still ran around with the same crowd and remained friends. In college we briefly dated again before we both went our separate ways dating-wise. He went to college in another state and we would see each other in the summertime and maybe communicate via email. I honestly cannot remember. Sometime on a summer break (I think) he was over at my parents’ house. My parents had an empty unfinished/unfloored space above the garage that was intended to be a game room, but was never built out. My mom wanted to turn that space into a huge attic, so they hired D (abbreviated to protect the innocent) to finish out the room. My mom has always loved having that attic space. End of the story in my book (and I am sure my parents’ book, too). It was just a simple thing – hiring him to do that job.
Now, I probably haven’t seen D in 10 years, but last year I had a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity that I posted on Facebook asking for donations. Really, no one responded but D. He made an extremely generous donation, which I thought was beyond nice of him…especially since we hadn’t talked in years. (Other than the accepting of the friend request on FB.)
I wrote him a thank you note that I honestly cannot remember what I said. I am pretty sure I told him in the email that my dad had passed away and wasn’t sure if he knew and I wrote something in there about the attic build-out.
I never heard back from him, which is fine. It was a thank you note, after all. You can only thank someone and have them thank you back so many times. Another simple gesture.
Well, last week I got an email from D (sent to other people as well) about a fundraiser he was doing for a Canine Cancer Walk he was participating in. (The organization has been founded to find better ways to treat canine cancer and hopes to advance treatments in humans through the process.) As a dog lover and someone who has been touched by cancer, I made a donation on his dog’s behalf. I really thought nothing of it. Just a simple thing.
Yesterday I received an email from him thanking me for my donation and what really touched me is that all of these simple events came together and I was able to see what they really meant in the big scheme of things. I am sure this is how God feels all the time. Like our lives are interesting little movies and he gets to see how they all come together based on a series of events. We are usually not as lucky.
Here is an excerpt from the email. I deleted some of the personal anecdotes, but this is the main gist. (I hope he doesn’t mind that I am sharing. Pretty sure he doesn’t know I blog, though, so hopefully I am safe.)
I meant to tell you last year when you emailed me during your Habitat fundraiser- the comment you made about your dad appreciating my handiwork touched me more than you could know. When I did the project at your parents' house, your dad treated me with a respect and professionalism I hadn't experienced before. Not only that, he made it clear that he trusted my abilities and was willing to work together on other projects. It was a vote of confidence that meant a lot to me at the time and to this day; I wanted to make sure you knew how important that was!
Anyway, I guess this post is just a reminder of how the very simple things that we do for others can mean far more to them than we will ever know and have an impact on the entire shape of their future. It is also a little blessing to get a little glimpse of how the big picture comes together and it is always nice to hear about how my dad touched someone’s life for the better.