Welcome to the inspirational stories of The Raven's Den. Here is where stories are written to inspire people to keep going for their dreams.
An Act Of Kindness
He was driving home one evening, on a two-lane country road. Work, in this small mid-western community, was almost as slow as his beat-up Pontiac. But he never quit looking. Ever since the Levis factory closed, he'd been unemployed, and with winter raging on, the chill had finally hit home. It was a lonely road. Not very many people had a reason to be on it, unless they were leaving. Most of his friends had already left. They had families to feed and dreams to fulfill. But he stayed on. After all, this was where he buried his mother and father. He was born here and knew the country.
He could go down this road blind, and tell you what was on either side, and with his headlights not working, that came in handy. It was starting to get dark and light snow flurries were coming down. He'd better get a move on. You know, he almost didn't see the old lady, stranded on the side of the road. But even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.
Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn't look safe, he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill that only fear can put in you. He said, "I'm here to help you m'am. Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm. By the way, my name is Joe."
Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough Joe crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down her window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn't thank him enough for coming to her aid. Joe just smiled as he closed her trunk.
She asked him how much she owed him. Any amount would have been alright with her. She had already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Joe never thought twice about the money. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance that they needed, and Joe added "...and think of me".
He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight. A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The cash register was like the telephone of an out of work actor, it didn't ring much.
Her waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn't erase. The lady noticed that the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Joe.
After the lady finished her meal, and the waitress went to get her change from a hundred dollar bill, the lady slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. She wondered where the lady could be, then she noticed something written on a napkin. There were tears in her eyes, when she read what the lady wrote. It said, "You don't owe me a thing, I've been there too. Someone once helped me out, the way I'm helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here's what you do. Don't let the chain of love end with you."
Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could she have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard. She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, "Everything's gonna be alright, I love you Joe."
A Story To Live By
My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister's bureau and
lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. "This," he said, "is not a slip.
This is lingerie." He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It
was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The
price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. "Jan
bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years
ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well,
I guess this is the occasion." He took the slip from me and put it on
the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His
hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the
drawer shut and turned to me. "Don't ever save anything for a special
occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion."
I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that
followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores
that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane
returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister's
family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn't seen or
heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without
realizing that they were special. I'm still thinking about his words,
and they've changed my life.
I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting on the deck and admiring
the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden.
I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time in
committee meetings. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of
experience to savor, not endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments
now and cherish them.
I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every
special event-such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the
first camellia blossom.
I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is if
I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of
groceries without wincing.
I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware
stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my
"Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my
vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and
hear and do it now. I'm not sure what my sister would have done had
she known that she wouldn't be here for the tomorrow we all take for
It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew
that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends
whom I was going to get in touch with-someday. Angry because I hadn't
written certain letters that I intended to write-one of these days.
Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and daughter often enough
how much I truly love them.
I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that
would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I
open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every
minute, every breath truly is...a gift from God.
Flower In The Desert
This happened many many summers ago.
There was a young flower in the desert where all was dry and sad looking...It was growing by itself...enjoying every day...and saying to the sun "When shall I be grown up"? And the sun would say "Be patient"---Each time I touch you,you grow a little"...And she was so pleased.Because she would have a chance to bring beauty to this corner of sand...And this is all she wanted to do---bring a little bit of beauty to this world.
One day the hunter came by---and stepped on her.---She was going to die---and she felt so sad.Not because she was dying ---but because she would not have a chance to bring a little bit of beauty to this corner of the desert.
The great spirit saw her, and was listening.---Indeed,he said ...She should be living...And he reached down and touched her---and gave her life.
And she grew up to be a beautiful flower...and this corner of the desert became so beautiful because of her.
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