A few days ago I wrote a blog entry about people hiding their identities. Some could say the entry was a rant about people taking a negative approach to life and gaining unwanted attention ... and they would be right. I was feeling a bit discouraged that day and in spite of my otherwise 'holiday spirit' I was feeling saddened. Then I heard a true story during a conversation with someone that renewed my hope in mankind.
It's the Christmas season and for many that means shopping and buying gifts for others. Presents are always nice, but some of the nicest presents you'll ever receive aren't shiny, technological, or even expensive. They're the gifts that come from the heart, the ones that are handmade, and the ones that are sacrificial. For many people the shopping season can bring a lot of stress; not to mention unwanted debt. The story I'm about to share may or may not have been a Christmas present, but it easily could have been.
I know a woman who is retired, but still gives piano lessons. At any given time she has 8-10 students. She doesn't have a lot of extra income, so her gift of music gives her both pleasure and extra money. Students come and go, their interests change, they grow up and move on, and often times their circumstances change. This piano teacher spoke of one of her students that was very talented. The student's mother had a good job with good benefits, but like a lot of other people lost her position when the company she worked for was down-sized. For a while she couldn't afford her daughter's lessons. The teacher explained that if the circumstances are there she always allows for one 'pro bono' student. The student had talent and she didn't want her to lose her lessons. The teacher gave the student lessons for free. Some time went by and the student's mother was hired by a competitive company. One day the teacher received a check in the mail covering the cost of every single 'free' lesson the student had received. The teacher never asked for the money. Repayment was never discussed.
There's a saying that says 'what goes around comes around'. That saying can apply when someone does something bad or something good, but what a wonderful gift it was that was given. The gift of music was a true gift from her heart. It wasn't just a gift that was free, it was a gift that was sincere and one that offered hope (both to the student and her mother).
Unfortunately there will always be those people who just don't get 'it', those that are selfish, and those that are rude to strangers. For them I am truly sorry, BUT it's the heartfelt stories of people who sacrifice for others that continue to give me hope. I hope you'll use this true story as an inspiration to give of yourself to others. The gifts and talents that you alone have been blessed with are like no other. Whoever is on the receiving end of one of your heartfelt gifts is really the lucky one.