Finding Your Sand Dollar

“The river over which every soul must pass to reach the kingdom of heaven is suffering, the boat which carries souls across the river is loveand humility is the virtue that gets us on the boat. ”

Fr. Scott Woods, drawing from the wisdom of the Carmelite Doctors

 

This week a friend shared a very inspirational story with me that I wanted to pass on to you. She is a member of a support group for both those suffering from a fatal disease which over a period of time causes the progressive deterioration of both physical and mental ability and their families/caregivers.

A fellow member had shared earlier this summer that the progression of the disease had necessitated her entrance into a nursing home. This was quite a blow to her and she found herself discouraged and depressed. She no longer wanted to get out of bed in the morning because she felt there was no point in doing so. She felt as if she spent her time just waiting. But then things changed dramatically for her. She writes, “I no longer spend my time waiting. I now use any spare time I have to reflect on how I can make this nursing home better for the residents and staff. I feel a sense of community here than I haven’t felt in a long time. I spend more of my days with people than I do watching them from my bed.”

What brought about such a dramatic change?

“A pastor stopped by last week. He knows of my love for seashells. He asked me what a day would be like if I found a sand dollar on the beach. I said that would be a perfect moment! He then told me, ‘This home is your beach. Go find the sand dollars.'”

This comment struck a deep chord in the woman’s heart. She recognized the truth of the Pastor’s words and she acted upon them. “Now I go to the dining hall as early as I can just to hold residents’ hands or tell them how much they are loved. People’s hearts are much more precious than all of the world’s seashells.

The Christian steward recognizes that every good thing in their lives is a gift from God and they are grateful for the many blessings they receive and return them with increase to God. But it is only the very mature Christian who is able to experience great suffering and still find some goodness, who can muster the courage and strength to fight the temptation to turn inward and who can forget themselves and continue to reach out to others with love. But as her example shows, doing so, has brought her both wisdom and joy. Her generosity is heroic, God’s even more so.

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