I’ve been busy cleaning out books, papers and clothes the last while. It always feels great to get rid of things that are not being used and are, hence, underappreciated. It is better to pass on such things to someone else who is able to appreciate them. Part of this process of cleaning involves looking through all the inspirational and/or humorous stories I’ve collected over the years. I’m pasting below one from an unknown author that I love. I trust you enjoy it too.

It was a cold day in December. A little boy about 10-years-old was standing before a shoe store on Broadway in New York City. He was barefoot, peering through the window, and shivering with cold.

A lady approached the boy and said, “My little fellow, why are you looking so earnestly in that window?”

“I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes,” was the boy’s reply.

The lady took him by the hand and went into the store, and asked the clerk to get a half dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water and a towel. He quickly brought them to her. She took the little fellow to the back part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet, and dried them with a towel.

By this time the clerk had returned with the socks. Placing a pair upon the boy’s feet, she then purchased him a pair of shoes, and tying up the remaining pairs of socks, gave them to him. She patted him on the head and said, “No doubt, my little fellow, you feel more comfortable now?”

As she turned to go, the astonished lad caught her by the hand, and looking up in her face, with tears in his eyes, answered the question with these words: “Are you God’s wife?”

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

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Shahzad Rose

Shahzad Rose

 

 

 

 

I received the following story in my inbox early last year. I was touched and inspired and I duly forwarded it to a cadre of friends. Little did I know the implications this one simple act would have on my life.

 

The Rose

 

The first day of school our Professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. 

I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?”

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant Squeeze.

“Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I asked.

She jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids.”

“No seriously,” I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

“I’ve always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months, we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this “time machine” as she shared her wisdom and experience with me. Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed, she leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.”

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, “We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You’ve got to have a dream.

“When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it! There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets. The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.”

She concluded her speech by courageously singing The Rose.

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be.

 

After receiving the story from me by email, a dear friend, Dave, living just a block away from us here in Coopers Beach, asked if I knew that the writer of the song, The Rose, named Amanda McBroom, had a vacation home in New Zealand. I replied that I’d not even heard of Amanda McBroom; I’d always associated The Rose with Bette Midler. Dave then informed me that Amanda’s vacation home was in Coopers Beach and that she and her husband visited once a year.

 

I immediately googled Amanda McBroom, found her website and contacted her agent about doing an interview with her the next time she visited New Zealand. Our discussions and the eventual interview are the subject of another blog found here.