Monday, February 1, 2016

You Never Know


Last night I had the chance to deliver a 1 minute speech at a Hub Dot event. If you haven't heard of Hub Dot, check this out. It was so inspiring! I loved the chance to connect with a bunch of awesome women. My brief message: Wisdom/Insight out of pain comes at such a high price. If you have a changed perspective, direction, greater faith, or a new mission that has come out of pain, don't waste it. Share it with someone who may need to know what you know now.

So, as I entered the event I saw a woman who looked and sounded familiar. After I pried a little, I found out she was someone I had last seen when I was 18 years old, the summer my mother died of a brain aneurysm at age 46. I waitressed at the restaurant where she had formerly worked, trying to keep my mind off of our sad and empty-feeling house until I could escape back to college. I was skeptical that this could be the same Lisa, because apparently she'd found the fountain of youth.

Well, when I introduced myself, she remembered me immediately and told me that she had spoken at the last Hub Dot event about changing the direction of your life, and how important mentors are in the process. She said that as she told her story to the crowd, she got emotional speaking of a mentor who had helped her shift gears into a very successful floral business that lasted over 20 years.

That mentor was my mother!

Mom had gotten to know Lisa as our frequent waitress at the restaurant we went to at least twice a week throughout my high school years when Mom decided that she'd cooked enough dinners to last a lifetime. In the last year or so of her life, Mom helped Lisa see new possibilities for her future.

I was amazed that after almost 28 years gone, my mother was still impacting people, and that her legacy was as fresh to Lisa today as it was when she was a young waitress all those years ago.

I know that my greatest fear as a bereaved mother is that Jack will be forgotten, especially because he had such a short time here and a very limited sphere. But talking to Lisa last night made me realize we NEVER know whom we are influencing, and in what way.

It seemed to dovetail so nicely with the theme of the evening which was about helping others through our own experiences. That can be through writing books, raising money, starting non-profits, and being advocates, but it can also take the form of quiet conversations in the booth of a local diner, helping someone dream bigger, and walking beside them while they do.

"Oh, Anna," Lisa said, "You have to meet my daughter!"
She called a gorgeous young woman over.
"Her middle name is Margaret, named after your mom."


****
P.S. If you are local to the Northern Virginia area, I'd LOVE IT if you could join me on Sunday, Feb 7 at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Herndon. I'll be speaking about Embracing the Mystery of God in Difficult Times. The event is FREE, includes a yummy lunch, AND you'll still be home for the Super Bowl! 12:30-2 pm, with an optional time just for women afterward to reflect and connect from 2-3:30. Hope to see you there! If you are on Facebook, here's a link to the event. https://www.facebook.com/events/792178110888177/

22 comments:

Anna Davies said...

Loved this story!!! <3 Also, I came to your blog last night after months of not reading due to a newborn and was SO THRILLED to hear news about your baby boy to be. It seriously made me cry tears of joy. I am so happy for your family and so thankful you share your life with your readers. You have such a great voice, and have definitely made me look for the miracles and not-accidents in my own life as well. xo

julie gardner said...

This is the most beautiful story.
I have no better words for you than that.

Anonymous said...

That is beautiful - your mother continues to shine on :)

Anonymous said...

I know that you used "coincidence" as one of the labels for this post, but this was no coincidence, I truly believe this was a "God wink" from your Mom.

Jessica said...

I love this! I'm so glad you got to meet her.

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

WOW!!! that is such an amazing story!!!! your mom was incredible like you are.

mags said...

What a wonderful story. I'm siting here at work with tears in my eyes. Just beautiful! I so needed to read this today. Thanks for sharing, Margaret

Karen Schnell said...

When I was 13 a friend I'd known all my life died; he was 16 at the time. I spent a long time feeling numb, pondering God, and so many feelings typical of grieving. And then I thought of the time when I was 6 and Steve taught me how to waterski. He was determined that I should learn, even after most of my family had given up and told me I should wait a year. Steve just kept swimming out to me whenever I fell to help me get up until I really learned to do it on my own. I have taught many people how to waterski, including my eldest son. He has taught at least 20 people how to waterski. I have shared with him my thought that Steve continues to live in each and every person we teach, whether they know it or not. Steve will not be forgotten, and neither will Jack.

Jules said...

WOW! Such a beautiful story. You really don't know how much of an impact someone has on your life. I'm so thankful for the people who have influence me in positive ways. I had a friend in high school who's dad helped me through a really tough time when my brother was sick. He listened & he explained things. I was allowed to talk about cancer in their house. When I think about how I got through high school, he & his family are one of the main reasons. I will tell you that Jack will always be on people's minds. I lost a friend in high school. She was killed by a drunk driver & it was horrible. I had never lost a friend at such a young age. My daughter has her name as her middle name. I have kept in touch with her mom through the years. I sent her mom a note not too long ago when I had been thinking of Jen. I told her memories that I had in my heart all these years later that still make me smile. I wanted her to know that I still remember! Even if they aren't talking about Jack, they are thinking about Jack.

Esther O said...

That was an AMAZING goosebump-filled story. What a glorious reminder that we are not gone when we do good.

ella said...

What a great "coincidence"! Jack will never be forgotten.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

What a beautiful story. I call those Godincidences!

ohmelvin.com said...

I was there Sunday and you (and all the others) were amazing! Love the gift that old friend gave to you, seems like great timing to run into her.

Alexandra said...

Goose bumps!!! There is more to life than we see, than we'll know. What an incredible opportunity to witness!

Stefanie Cloutier said...

What a powerful reminder of the impact we can have on one person! And that, when we bemoan that we're "only affecting one person" just how big the impact IS to that one person, and how it ripples out. It's not about the one or two big things we do, it's the million little things that add up. It's also a clear reminder that Jack's life, while relatively short, will ripple out in many ways; he won't ever be lost while people remember him. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I am 50 and still think of a girl who was in my second grade class, Christine Elliott. Christine came to school when she could with her IV in her arm, her mostly bald head and a huge smile. She sat behind me and played kickball with enthusiam. I think about her so often,the strength she displayed,as a child I just knew she was pretty special, as an adult I am in awe of her grac. She was fighting leukemia and eventually lost her battle. My sister too faced leukemia in her twenties, thankfully through medical advances she survived. So many times I have wanted to reach out to her parents, but I never even knew their first names. Honestly, Christine is the first person I saw show incredible strength and grace in horrific circumstances and her spirit is my strength whenever I faced difficulties...So please know somewhere someone will always remember Jack! Even a someday 50 year old former classmate.

nomadsbynature said...

True wisdom indeed! And what a wonderful gift back to you to see your mother's words and works alive! Through them she lives on.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing and astonishing story. I'm so glad you recognized Lisa.

love,
jbhat

Serenemeg said...

I thought you may be able to reach out to this family that lost their 5 year old daughter last week in a terrible sledding acccident.
https:// imissyouclara.wordpress.com/2016/01/31/jan-30-2016/

Julie said...

These are my favorite posts! Love!!!

Anonymous said...

Anna, This touched my heart so much! God is so good to arrange that meeting for you!!!

Jennie Goutet said...

Oh my goodness. I'm crying now. Beautiful.