*Would it Kill You to Ask?*
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It is with great pleasure that I get to share a story with you today from my friend and author Joan Wester Anderson. Joan has been an incredible encouragement to me not only as a writer, but also as a friend... Be sure to visit her website and sign up for her weekly mailing list!
From my family to yours,
P.S. It is my hope to write a new story to share with all of you of my recent trip to Guatemala... be looking for it in the next couple of weeks...
Would it Kill You to Ask?
by Joan Wester Anderson
Stephanie Slater was in graduate school when her mother passed away. "Mom had always pushed her children toward higher education," Stephanie says. "Among the seven of us, there are five bachelor's degrees and five masters' --one of my sisters has two masters." Stephanie's mom was a very assertive person too, who hated to stand by and do nothing, when a response was indicated. At least people could try, she felt. "Would it kill you to ASK?" she had told Stephanie more than once--most recently when Stephanie hesitated to apply for college financial aid in the belief that she would be turned down. She had taken her mother's advice--and received a student loan. Now, despite being devastated over the loss, Stephanie decided to continue her courses. It was what her mom would have wanted her to do.
One evening a few weeks after the funeral, Stephanie was driving home from a study group meeting in Tampa. It hadn't gone well. An important participant hadn't attended, and Stephanie was upset about it. In fact, she was uncharacteristically irritated over a lot of things lately. Her father had just had a stroke, she was carrying a heavy load of work and school, "even the fact that it was late and dark bothered me," she says. "I continued to stew as I sat at a red light at a busy intersection." Then suddenly a little boy walked in front of her headlights.
Stephanie was startled. "He was so out of place, and too young to be alone --probably only seven or eight years old," she says. "It was dark, and there were no sidewalks on the side of this road." The child looked dirty and bedraggled too, as he continued past her. What was he doing here? She should get involved, but... what if her intention was misjudged? Or what if she called to him, and he responded rudely? After the day's hassle, she was just not in the mood, and the light was about to change.
Then Stephanie heard a strong inner voice: "Well, would it KILL you to ASK?" It was her mother! Stephanie recognized not only the phrase but the attitude--why stand by if something could be done? Immediately, Stephanie rolled down her window and called to the child. "Honey, are you lost?"
Another few feet and he would have been gone. But now he stopped, and looked towards her car. "Yes," he said, his lower lip trembling.
The light changed. "Stay where you are!" Stephanie pulled around the corner up to the boy, reached out of the window and handed him her cell phone. He was obviously scared, but he punched in some numbers. As Stephanie watched him, she had a sense of unexpected peace and power. This was how the situation was supposed to work out, wasn't it? Her daily cares somehow floated away... Now Stephanie heard the joyful shriek of a woman on the other end of the phone. The boy handed it to her. "I'm so glad you found Michael!" the woman was crying and laughing at the same time. "The police have been looking for him for four hours!"
Stephanie and the mom agreed to meet at a nearby video store, and Michael took the phone again to receive permission to get in the car. He had wandered five miles from home, Stephanie discovered as they drove and talked. And he was twelve, far older than she had thought. "What happened?" she asked. "Did you just walk too far?"
Michael paused. "I have Tourette's Syndrome," he told her. "Sometimes I stutter. My friends were playing and they started making fun of me, so I got mad, and started walking. All of a sudden, I didn't know where I was." Stephanie thought her heart would break. Who would make fun of such a precious little boy?
Just a few moments after they reached the store, Michael's mother arrived. She wept and hugged him, and hugged Stephanie too. How terrified she must have been, Stephanie thought, as she tried to put herself in the woman's place. And now, how joyous! Maybe God feels that way about us too, loving us just the way we are, rejoicing when we return to Him... She hadn't ever thought of that. It added to the inexplicable serenity she had been experiencing ever since she met Michael. Then he turned to her. "Are you an angel?" he asked.
"No, Michael," Stephanie answered, her own eyes filling with tears. "But I think an angel put you in my path tonight."
Stephanie is more open to situations now. She often finds herself asking, "Was I put here to help in some way?" She has also learned that in the midst of grief, there can be joy. "I think this event was my mother's way of relieving my stress, and letting me know that she's still watching over me," says Stephanie. "That's my message to others who have lost a loved one: the truth is, they never really leave you." And the work in God's earthly kingdom continues, aided most by those who are willing to ask.
Copyrighted by Joan Wester Anderson July 2002. For more stories of God's love, or to join Joan's weekly email list, check out her website at: www.joanwanderson.com
Joan Wester Anderson
Write Joan and let her know your thoughts on her story!
Author and lecturer Joan Wester Anderson was born in Evanston, Illinois. She began her writing career in 1973 with a series of family humor articles for local newspapers and parenting magazines. She was a monthly columnist for two national magazines during the 1980's, and has published more than one thousand articles and short stories in a variety of publications, including Woman's Day, Modern Bride, Virtue, Reader's Digest, and the New York Times Syndicate.
Her 14 books include WHERE ANGELS WALK, TRUE STORIES OF HEAVENLY VISITORS, which was on the New York Times best-seller list for over a year, has sold almost two million copies and been translated into fourteen languages.
Her most recent book, FOREVER YOUNG, the life story of actress Loretta Young, was published by Thomas More Publishers in November, 2000. The actress had read the angel series, and requested Anderson as her biographer.
Anderson has appeared on national television programs including "Good Morning America," "Oprah," "20/20," and "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw".
Anderson is a graduate of Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and a former adjunct professor at Harper Junior College in Palatine, Illinois. She and her husband live in suburban Chicago, and have five grown children and two grandchildren.
Thought For The Day:
"Many a man has found the acquisition of wealth only a change, not an end, of miseries." --Lucius Seneca
Verse for the Day:
"He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income." --Ecclesiastes 5:10
Kid's Thought For The Day:
"The teacher can always tell when you did your homework on the bus."
Parent's Thought For The Day
"Where parents do too much for their children, the children will not do much for themselves." --Elbert Hubbard
Coach's Thought For The Day
"Well done is better than well said." --Benjamin Franklin
Writer's Thought For the Day:
"There's no magic formula. To become a competent writer, you write until you start to sound like you, and then you keep on writing. Finish things you start. Get better." --Neil Gaiman
Deep Thought For The Day:
"I'd send my dog to one of those new pet psychiatrists -- but he knows he's not allowed on the couch."
MICHAEL T. POWERS
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20
Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business
I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever! Love, Trisha Silverhill, AL
Let me make you a video from your photos! Check out my video production business by visiting: http://www.hearttouchers.com/video_imagery
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