Sunday, August 10, 2008


I love reading stories and this story that I am about to share to you is one that I got from reading the book, Ripples of Joy. Learn and feel the love and share it to others.

My recovery from an intricate foot surgery was long and difficult, and I was feeling very sorry for myself, confined, as I was to wheelchair or hopping about balanced on a walker. I despaired of ever walking again and enjoying normal mobility. To make matters worse, it was summer, and I missed being near the soothing seaside and watching the waves roll in.

One weekend, my daughter Cindy, her roommate Georgan, and their two handsome Labradors came to visit. They had driven from central California in a van large enough to accommodate all of us, including my wheelchair. When asked where I’d like to go for a drive. I immediately responded, “To the beach!”

“Dog’s Beach” is a special section of the coastline nearby where, for stretch of a mile, dog owners are allowed to bring their dogs. Naturally this is where we went, especially as the dogs had never experienced the ocean and the girls were eager to see their reaction.

My wheelchair could not manage the sand, so the girls set me on the sidewalk high above the water, where I had a good view and could watch them play fetch with the dogs. It was fun to see the girls toss a stick into the waves and see the dogs happily bark as they retrieved the sticks and brought them back for more of the game.

Their play had gone on for about ten minutes when one of the dogs, Sky, suddenly left the water’s edge and ran up the bank of sand to the sidewalk where I was sitting. She came up to me, laid her head on my lap, and gazed into my face with her beautiful eyes as if to say, “Are you all right? I know something must be wrong if you’re not down by the water with us.” I gave her a big hug and encouraged her to go back to play.

A few minutes later, Sky was back again, checking on me, head on my lap, and telling me with her eyes, “I care for you.” Those eyes of hers, those soulful eyes, brought me close to tears.

When we got home and the dogs and girls were hosed off and fed, I was relaxing in an armchair with my cast-enclosed foot up on an ottoman. Soon, Sky was at my armchair, her head up and her eyes telling me that she was still on duty watching out for me. So expressive were her eyes that I could almost hear her words of concern and support.

When the visit was over and the girls had gone back to central California, the memory of Sky stayed with me. She had taught me a lesson: just the expression of caring and concern had a salutary effect. It made me feel warm and secure-and yes, loved.

Time passed. I healed and went back to my work as a school librarian.

Back at work, I used the lesson that I learned from Sky to change how I dealt with staff and students. Where once I had passed another teacher with just a quick “Hi,” I now slowed down, made eye contact, asked “how’s it going today?” and waited for an answer. When students seemed overwhelmed by all the books to choose from, I took time to ask about their interests and guided them to books they might like.

Taking time and extra effort to show caring and support was more than its own reward. The staff now comes into the library with big smiles, and the kid think it’s a good idea to give me a hug as a thank you for the experience of a book they enjoyed.

I hope this will be permanent way of life for me-showing that I care. After all, what should Sky think if I failed to put into practice all she’s taught me?

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