Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Kruse quote’

Life is about making an impact, not making an income. (Kevin Kruse)

My neighbor repeats the news twice before I hear it. And three times before it sinks in. The gentle man who does odd jobs for small pay, has bone cancer. He is in intensive care.

How can that be? Less than two months ago I invited him into my living room to pick up a huge package of chicken left-over from my birthday party. The weather had been chilly for an outdoor gathering, and the turnout had been sparse. The man had been grateful for the gift. He did not complain about illness.

Now I want to give him complete healing. It can’t be packaged. In fact, I realize I don’t even know this man’s last name. I realize that in the conversations I have had with him he revealed little about his life. A girlfriend or ex-wife. A child.

I suspect I missed some important details. Connections with someone important.

My mother-in-law, Mary, had a knack for drawing people to her from all areas of life: rich, poor, old, and young. She died more than a year ago. Yet, I continue to hear from the people who knew her. Stories about how she touched their lives.

I remember that I couldn’t tell her I wanted something: she would get it for me. My husband and I own a small house. Things continue to overwhelm its interior. Besides, what she gave me was far more important. She pointed out my spiritual gifts and talents; I had been taught to see only flaws.

So, when my sister-in-law brings out boxes of her clothes I am hesitant to take any of them. Moreover, in her final days my mother-in-law had lost a lot of weight. I expect most of the items to be too small.

Then, I see the Dale of Norway sweater my husband and I gave Mary. It had deep stains in it. My sister-in-law managed to remove them. An amazing feat. But, as Mary’s daughter, she doesn’t see the impossible with limitations. My sister-in-law, like her mother, chose social work as a career.

My mother-in-law managed to see beyond the stains in people to who they were. She wrapped warmth around them.

I reach for the sweater. “If it’s too small I will give it to my granddaughter.”

But the ornate metal clasps attach. The arm length is fine. No need to roll up the sleeves.

“I’m making an executive decision,” my sister-in-law says smiling. “It’s yours.”

Someday I pray to fit into Mary’s boldness. I may appear strong in print, but in a group I will most likely be the quiet woman in the corner, the one who leaves the room during an argument, the short redhead least likely to be heard in a loud crowd.

Then again, perhaps my calling may not be to follow my mother-in-law Mary’s assertive style. I can’t see the future.

For now, there is no reason why I can’t find out more about the condition of the neighbor with bone cancer from the person who told me about him.

Mary’s sweater fits. Now, I need to give it my style. Of giving, learning, and love.

Mary's sweater

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Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being. (Kevin Kruse)

 As I’m dusting the windowsill I see the note Kate wrote to Ella, probably several years ago. I saved it because it reflects who Kate is. Ordinarily I choose to publish only quotes and pictures that include correct spelling and grammar. However, there are times when perfection can ruin the beauty of the moment. The sincerity of my eldest granddaughter’s wish blasts out from her innocence. She wants the best for her young cousin. I can’t fault that.

However, no one experiences a perfect life. Our Ella probably understands that better than many people do. She approaches a quarantine time. Her open heart surgery has been postponed twice. Now, so that she can move forward, we must keep her away from crowds and lots of germs. Of course she has no fear of infection. Saturday she dropped a vending machine M&M on a restaurant floor and then picked up the candy and chomped on it. Fear of another sick day does not govern her life.

I would like to delete fear from my own life. I would also like to send a message like Kate’s to a few other folk I know, to wish safety, health, and simple joys.

There is a young woman at a place I visit frequently who has recently had a recurrence of cancer. She is frightened, as anyone would be. She says she does not expect to recover this time.

She shows me the site from her biopsy, just below her throat. We share a few tears. I hug her. This is all I have to give. She says six words that scream a lifetime of experience: “I have always been the oddball.”

We are standing in front of a public bathroom mirror. I want to turn her toward the glass and point out what I see—a beauty that isn’t superficial. Tenacity and willingness to serve don’t appear in a flat reflection. Yet, I can’t find an opening in her spirit to explain that different is not a synonym for inferior. She is devastated, too broken for words to seep in yet.

I recall how I was the taunted kid through twelve grades of school. And I never understood why, except for the innate inferiority theory. After all, my parents never told me that I had gifts of any value.

This young woman has struggled through developmental handicaps. She has gone through chemotherapy. She volunteers. Daily. With a smile. She is in too much pain to understand more than a hug. Moreover, my recent accomplishments can obscure the realities of the past. She doesn’t see a future. Now is not the time for me to talk, but to listen.

Then I see her again this morning. She wears a pink fighting-breast-cancer scarf. She readily accepts my embrace and tells me she is taking her driving test on Tuesday. I grin. She talks about her nervousness. I think about facing tons of steel on the road. I envision this young lady approaching a 32-wheeler on the expressway and crushing cancer in the passing lane.

Perhaps enough people have listened to this volunteer. Maybe she is beginning to see her own worth, prayer answered before it was barely begun…

May that power continue to grow.


Dear Ella



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