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I often wonder if you are a part of your experiences or are experiences part of what makes you whole? I haven’t ever shared this because some of me wonders if it really happened. I do believe in the other world and I do believe in signs so I guess I question the existence of the event. This life changing experience happened two winters ago. I often have moments of struggle. I struggle with staying home. I often can’t stand it. I stay home because that was the decision my husband and I made a long time ago. I stay home because it really is the best option for our family based on my husband’s career and the needs of our three kids. I have also built my own business and have an amazing team of people that count on me and I count on them. I still struggle because my heart is still in the classroom and I miss kids with special needs.
I was having one of those days when everything was broken. I burnt breakfast trying to find a lunch box that didn’t make it inside. I finally made another breakfast only to have it dropped on the floor and somehow stepped on. I attempted to get three children out the door with their things in some sort of order. I looked at them and wanted to cry. I love my children but sometimes my best efforts do not yield children that look clean or cared for. They had all taken showers, lovingly had their hair dried, clothes picked out, and breakfast cooked twice. They looked as though they went to war and the oatmeal won. I decided to just send them battered by oatmeal to school. The thought of adding nine more items to the laundry and starting all over again would have broken me that day. I had deadlines due for my other job and my own business. I had oatmeal in places I didn’t think possible in my kitchen and I hadn’t eaten a bite.
I dropped my children off at school. I had a moment of peace. I stayed in my car and enjoyed the moment and then my emails starting beeping. It was back to life. I drove home. I grabbed what was once a warm piece of toast which I dipped in the half eaten “second attempt at breakfast “oatmeal and I started to cry. I just never imagined my life would be trying to get oatmeal off of walls, kids, and out of clothing. I got a text from my husband that we would be home late some client was in town without notice. Oh! Awesome! That was just what I needed since I had scheduled meetings knowing he gets home at 6:30 for 7:00 pm. I grabbed my laptop and turned on Facebook.
I started reading about all my friends lives. I decided they were lying and just “Facebooking” half truths. There was no way that their children were clean, arrived to school on time, and their houses were clean. I then opened up my business email and began to work help desk tickets while checking my own businesses emails. It is amazing how efficient you become while waiting for software to load. I plowed through 45 minutes of work. Then I heard a knock on my door. I assumed it was the UPS delivery person since I receive packages all the time. It wasn’t.
It was an older man with missing teeth a white shirt, jeans with tears, and a brown woven belt. I just looked at him. I live on a hill you just do not happen upon my house. You do not just climb the hill because. I had no idea who this man was. I just stared. He asked me if I had any work for him. I had tons of work there was oatmeal all over the place. I couldn’t invite him into clean my house. I was upset but not crazy. We chatted as I grabbed my alarm button key ring. He told me he lost his job and he needed money. He said he was willing to do anything to earn money for his family. I felt the same way that day. I felt like I was willing to do anything for my family. I was staying home and working two jobs, so I understood. I made up a job wondering where I was going to get the money to pay this man. I never have cash. I asked him to look in the yard and pick up all the toys and any trash. I would pay him for the hour. I found out he needed $10. I turned off my cell phone and shut down my laptops and I began looking all over the house for money. I gave all of the money I had to my children for book orders and a field trip. I then remembered I had emergency money in the car. I went down in the garage and I took out the $20 I had.
The man came back to my door with in the hour with a bag of toys and a bag of trash. I asked if he needed a drink or if I could make him lunch. He told me, “He needed to get home to his wife.” I asked. “Do you live around here.” He said, “In the County.” We chatted a little bit more. I then had the nerve to ask him,” Why did you just need $10.” What he said really changed my life. He said, ” I promised my wife when we got married I would love her to the day I died. I promised her I would do everything in my power to make sure I provided food for our children. I lost my job and I wasn’t able to do that today until I came to your house.” He went on to say the $10 would provide three meals for his family and tomorrow he would try to find a job. He just knew he had to do something to make sure he didn’t break “his promise.” I gave him the $20 I had his emergency was far greater than mine and I told him now he has an extra day to find a job. He thanked me and told me he had several job interviews.
I am still not sure who sent this man up my hill. I do know why. I was having a day of feeling sorry for myself. A day when oatmeal all over the place was a crisis. I was looking at what was wrong and not what was right. I was forgetting that work is a means to an end it isn’t what defines us. I forgot how special my kids were and only what it took to get them from place A to place B. I forgot that my husband was at work from 6:30 Am until 8:00 PM that night so that we could pay for our house, our children, and our future. I forgot about the promises I made a long time ago which was to do what it takes in my relationships with my husband and my children. I am sure my children’s teachers will tell you they are normally covered with food and their bags and homework are a mess. I decided on that day to enjoy my children and my family and not worry about how things look. I decided to do what it takes and to honor the promise I made to my husband and now my children. I decided that if he could walk up a hill to a strangers house to ask for help so he could provide for his family. Then I could also do what it takes to provide for my family. I sat down with my husband that night and really told him how all of this felt to me and what changes we needed to make for me to be able to do more than survive. I believe that man came to my house so I that I would begin the conversation that would change the way things are done around here.
I do believe people come into your life to teach you a lesson. It is up to you to do something with that lesson. Ask yourself why did I name this post the Life Changing Love lesson?