Welcome to 2TheHeart!
The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time. -- Jack London
I am happy to share a beautiful new story by Kathe Campbell! Be sure to check out Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul (link below) with stories by Kathe, myself and Nancy Julien-Kopp, all 2TheHeart writers! Have a blessed week!
THE BLOOM ON HER HEART
by Kathe Campbell
Saturday mornings invariably find Em rushing and standing in pharmacy lines, though she prefers being home to garden and play with kids. She and Jay are raising four teens who help their dad manicure their vast hilly lawn before he rushes off to golf. Em is fighting the onset of Multiple Sclerosis, but loves feeding her soul daily on her brilliant flowering pools.
Water features, as Em calls them, are weekend passions that she has created with pre-mix concrete, decorative boulders and rocks, and just plain grit. Pool water trickles beneath the entry walkway of their home and cascades to the back yard forming a series of rippling koi ponds. This day she could hardly wait to select more rock plants and hardy bogs and lotus newly arrived at The Pond Shop. But the pharmacy was very busy, and even after she wandered about the store for an extra twenty minutes, her prescriptions were not ready.
Em noticed a stooped and shriveled old lady leaning against the door jamb at the pharmacy counter area. Her face was pasty white beneath a red crocheted cloche, and she seemed to fitfully shift from one foot to the other. Hogging the customer chairs, several youngsters seemed oblivious to the senior's distress, so Em stepped out of line to ask the boys to make room for the oldster. As they reluctantly sauntered away, a gentleman helped the woman into a seat.
Heaving an audible sigh as her name was called, the senior snatched up the Christmas bag that served as her purse, and shuffled to the pick-up window. After a tedious and tearful consultation with the pharmacist, she turned away leaving her prescriptions on the counter. Just as the line began moving again, she reappeared and apologetically pushed her way up front to beg further help from the clerk. Impassioned long and lively conversation ensued between the oldster and yet another harried pharmacist. With weekend minutes waning, annoyed customers began rolling their eyes and groaning in frustration.
The thorny scene was upsetting, so Em surrendered to an inquisitive nature and boldly asked the clerk what the trouble was. Something nudged at her to catch up with the little lady before she boarded a bus. It was important to discover what kind of insurance plan she might be eligible for. The woman was on a small fixed income with no prescription plan, and had a scant sixty-eight dollars for a few groceries. With scheming and resolve occupying Em's thoughts, she escorted the oldster back inside to help her sign up. It seemed that communications with frenzied clerks had failed, allowing the dear old soul to slip through elderly cracks.
Inciting a crowd to action still came easily to this energetic forty-year-old mom, gardener, and social worker as she recalled her college cheerleading days. Em summoned up a favorite move and bounced along the prescription line brandishing a ten dollar bill in each hand. Instead of standing around in the tedious wait with squalling kids and impatient husbands, smiles and zealous chatter commenced. Folks began rummaging through their pockets and purses until the woman's $146 prescription bill was paid in full. Whether simply relieved, or feeling true empathy, a hearty YEAH engulfed the pharmacy while the oldster shook helpful hands and wiped away streams of tears.
"It may not be a good precedent to get started," admonished Jay, after his exhausted wife returned home minus her pond plants. "Who will help pay the lady's pharmacy bill the next time while she waits for insurance to kick in, Em?"
But, as always, he knew this was par for Em's course, and he wouldn't change her for the world. Her charitable heart was eternally big as all outdoors. Whether she could help, or whether she saw that it got done, no living thing had ever gone wanting in her presence. God had endowed her with something special that intercepted Siberian Iris and water lilies in lieu of a needy stranger that Saturday.
Some months later Jay and Em paid a visit to Jay's elderly grandmother at the nursing home. To Em's everlasting surprise, grandma's new roommate was the frail little lady in the pharmacy. Yes, Emily, my beloved daughter, mom, gardener, and former cheerleader, who has been adopting out babies to loving families, and is still conquering breast cancer. Laugh lines deepened beside the old woman's fading eyes as she beckoned Em to her wheelchair for a hug and another thank you for coming to her rescue.
We like to think that somewhere along the way, our blessed girl's yen to be a gracious and giving woman resulted from her upbringing. Yet, it seems her prolific lifestyle has stimulated a God-given benevolence from a meaningful page . . .
"Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can."
From sharing her meal with a homeless man, to rescuing sick and injured animals, John Wesley's words still emerge as Em's zest and purpose for living. Little else will do.
© - 2005
Kathe lives on a 7000' western Montana mountain with her national champion mammoth donkeys, her precious Keeshond, and a few kitties. Three grown children, eleven grands and three greats round out the herd. She has contributed to newspapers and national magazines on Alzheimer's disease, and her Montana stories are found on many e-zines. Kathe is a contributing author to the Chicken Soup For The Soul series, 2TheHeart: People Who Make A Difference, Classic Christmas, Releasing Times, RX for Writers, and medical journals.
The Letter Box:
I just wanted to say how much I love your inspirational newsletter. Your Christmas issue was my first one and both stories touched my heart and reminded me the reason we celebrate Christmas. Also, I have spent several hours reading previous stories in your archives, and I must say, there is not much that is a better way to spend time! Thank you to all the writers for your wonderful stories!
God bless you,
Jeanine F. in Canada
I enjoyed reading this piece very much which relates to a lot of us who are mommies. I too have found myself caught up in situations as such but with God’s grace I am able to get out of them.
Diane, Port Moresby - Papua New Guinea
What a wonderful story! I really enjoyed your thoughts on allowing our children to reach for the top and especially loved your reference to Zig Zigler's book - he's one of my favorites! Thank you for sharing this story!
It's wonderful to have 2TheHeart coming in again - welcome back! I know you are busy and applaud your Angels2TheHeart group - what a wonderful ministry to be connected to with 2TheHeart! I for one appreciate you still getting 2theheart out and sharing stories that make a difference.
Blessings, Geena :)