Some years ago, as I reflected on those people who had made major impacts on my life, I realized they perhaps never knew of their influence. I began to write letters to those for whom I had contact information. There were a variety of people.
The Gift of Music
I wrote my childhood piano teacher. I not only thanked her for the music she brought to me, but also for the music she brought through me. She had no idea how many hours of joy God had brought through my fingers on the keys of a piano or organ. She did not know how many times I had played the piano and organ for various public events. She did not know I had become a music composer.
She responded almost immediately. She had never stopped to think of where the music might go. She was simply faithfully sharing her Gift with me. And now many years later, through my letter, God had delivered a basket of fruit to her. She heard with delight about the fruits of her labor.
The Gift of Compassion
I wrote the nurse who worked in the doctor’s office when I was growing up. I told her of how I watched her compassion and kindness. I told her of how she calmed my fears and dried my tears. I told her of my decision to become a nurse “just like her.”
I told her of how I did grow up to be a nurse and brought compassion to others through being a school nurse, psychiatric nurse, acute care nurse and long term care nurse. I told her of how I helped to start the first inpatient hospice in my state. I told her of how I went on to teach other nurses. This was not a “brag letter,” but a letter of gratitude to her for beginning a chain of life she never even knew about.
She too saw herself as just doing what she was called to do. It never occurred to her that anyone was watching her. She had never considered that her actions inspired other actions.
The Gift of Believing in Someone
When I became a hospital nurse, I saw a great disparity between what I had been taught and what I saw happening there. I was very outspoken. I saw myself as a champion for a better way of doing things. My nurse manager saw me as a rebel, who had the potential to lead others astray.
I was unceremoniously transferred to another unit. I was not happy. My new Nurse Manager could have seen a bratty young nurse, who needed to be weeded out of the system. Instead she saw something in me that prompted her to invest in me. She taught me, directed me, redirected me, gave me boundaries, but also freedom to grow.
And finally she recommended me for a promotion that would put me at a higher pay grade than hers. She did it anyway in a totally unselfish act of generosity, stating simply, “You earned it.”
I delivered my letter to her one Mother’s Day. I told her she had truly been my nursing mother. She was never a biological mother, but I suspect there are others who could attest to her mothering spirit.
The Gift of Faithfulness
I tracked down a waitress I had known. I wrote her and delivered the letter, telling her how her faithfulness had inspired me to be more faithful. I told her of how I had marveled at her sweet spirit, never responding with anger, even when others treated her badly. I told her of how I was touched by her being willing to serve wherever she was assigned, without complaining.
I told her how she lifted me out of my deep, dark funks with her smiles and casual questions about my family. I let her know I came to consider her a part of our family. She was surprised, because we had never told her. Like the others, she had never considered that anything she did would have a lasting effect. She simply faithfully did what she thought was right, over and over again.
The Gift of Seeing The Need
i made a special trip back to the nursing home where my father in law lived before his promotion to Heaven. I found the housekeeper, who had shared with me how she had noticed that many people brought Jim things, but then put them out of his reach.
She made a point of checking on him every day she worked and moving the books where he could read them or his glass of water close enough for him to drink it. I told her how much her kindness and compassion meant and that I would always remember her as a gentle ministering servant of God. She looked and really saw the people around her. She responded to the needs she saw, even when they were not a part of her job description.
It touched my heart to see that the last book she had laid next to his chair was a book on Heaven. He had marked the place where he was reading.
Who Touched Your Life?
How many people have influenced your life, in big and small ways? Do they know the part they played in God’s growing fruit in you? Perhaps it is time for you to deliver a fruit basket to them.
The Not So Good
And what of those who affected your life in what you might perceive as negative ways? They were also your teachers. They may have made you stronger by your having to push back against them. They may have shown you what you never wanted to be. But they were in your life for a reason.
Now might be a good time to let them out of the prison of your mind. Forgive them. Thank God for them and ask Him to reveal the best versions of themselves, wherever they might be today.
I was sad to think that there were those who profoundly affected my life, but who were no longer on earth to receive my gratitude. I had a sense of loss at never being able to complete the circle of thankfulness.
As I talked with God about this, He gave me the answer. He suggested that I write about those heroes and heroines of my life in this blog. He assured me He would deliver the fruit basket to them. I will begin my writing soon.
He also reminded me of how miraculous seeds are, often falling from beautiful plants that appear to be dead and yet … they are the beginning of new life. Perhaps the seeds they planted in me will continue to spring up with fruit through you who read!
Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable —
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy —
think about such things.
God’s Fruit Basket
But the Fruit of The Spirit is
and Self Control …
Points to Ponder
What do people see when they look at you? Are you planting seeds of God’s Fruit? The best confirmation that you have planted well will come one day when The Gardener Himself will say to you,
“Well done, good and faithful servant!
You have been faithful with a few things;
I will put you in charge of many things.
Come and share your Master’s happiness!”