• As I start to write this, my wish is that I always have the perspective that I have in this moment.

    Today was a dreary day. I knew I had a party for a a local rehab facility this evening at the farm and I secretly prayed they would cancel, so I could go home. When they arrived, I drug myself into the store, put on my happy face and did what I do best, make people feel welcome and taken care of to the best if my abilities. As the night went on, I had conversations that changed me.

    I met a man that went in for a routine back procedure in March and was left completely paralyzed from the neck down. The doctors didn’t think he’d make it through the night, let alone ever walk again. And there he was, standing in front of me using a walker like a boss and having an amazing conversation with me about life.

    I met a family that was in the process of adopting the smartest, most beautiful blue eyed 1 year old who was born addicted to heroin. The husband was a disabled vet who fought hard for our country in Iraq and is now rolling around in his wheelchair like a boss. They talked with me until his war buddy showed up, who was rocking the same wheels as him and had a similar “pull yourself up out of the dirt” story.

    Then I met a couple that had been married for 20 years. They both suffered strokes but were still silly in love with each other. Luckily, some amazing people made it possible for them to stay together through rehabilitation and I swear their love has gotten them through the misery.

    And then I met a gentleman who is a retired teacher of 40 years who had also suffered a stroke. He teared up telling me about the 40 field trips to pumpkin patches he had taken his classes to and how funny life is, being that he was alone at the pumpkin patch, his students now parents themselves. He then proceeded to buy pumpkin earrings for his wife because he wanted to see her giggle.

    All these people. All these stories. And to think that I almost missed out on these encounters and worse, I was praying they cancelled!!

    It was a dreary day for me, but these folks told me repeatedly that this was the best night they had had in a long time, and that it meant so much to them to feel welcomed.

    And I prayed the whole way home… for their continued courage. …and for myself.

    You will never know what the stranger next to you is going through. Be kind, ya’ll.

    – ❤ Haley