My parents taught my brothers and I the Golden Rule, which basically boils down to treat others the way you would want someone to treat you.
They also taught us to “cast your bread upon the water.” The meaning there is to be generous with your time and resources, helping where you can, not expecting anything in return.
I think those are good life lessons, one my brothers and I still try to live by. And I love it when I see it in action and see how those who are themselves generous, even when it costs them something, are treated the same way in return.
Like the story of Jennifer, of East Idaho.
First, a little background on Jennifer.
A few years ago, she had an on-the-job accident. She was working in a hotel at the time when she fell and broke her jaw.
Unfortunately, it was a bad fall. I’m guessing she did a face plant because, since the fall, she has been through 96 surgeries. Despite all that, doctors say her jaw is “unfixable.” And that’s not the worst of it. Hitting her head when she fell has also resulted in a traumatic brain injury. The result of that is severe headaches and memory loss.
But wait, there’s more.
At some point over the last year, she also ended up with a severe MRSA infection in her sinuses.
According to WebMD,
“Though most MRSA infections aren’t serious, some can be life-threatening. Many public health experts are alarmed by the spread of tough strains of MRSA. Because it’s hard to treat, MRSA is sometimes called a “superbug.” “
It seems that not being able to move her jaw has brought this condition on. And since this is a superbug that antibiotics can’t treat, the infection has spread throughout her body. Some of her 96 surgeries have been to slice away some of the infection that builds up in her sinuses, making breathing impossible for her.
She lives in pain, and she can’t eat properly.
Food is comfort for a lot of us. People bring us meals when we’re sick or have been injured. But thanks to her jaw, Jennifer can’t chew. She has to blend up all her food like smoothies and drink it.
What would your life be like if that were you?
I think I would be ready to crawl under the covers and call it done. What possible enjoyment could you get out of life?
This is where we cycle back to the Golden Rule. Or cast your bread on the water. Be generous and help where you can.
Despite the life of pain she’s living, Jennifer hasn’t been hiding under a blanket. And someone noticed the kind of person she is and wanted to treat her as she treats others. Generously reward her for being there to help.
Who noticed her and what did they do?
EastIdahoNews shares the following.
“It’s our favorite time of year, and Secret Santa is back to give more money and gifts than ever before!
For the sixth year in a row, a local man has asked EastIdahoNews.com to help find people and families living in eastern Idaho who are in need. Secret Santa is a real person who wants to remain anonymous and wants to help as many people as he can.
We will be surprising deserving people and families from now until Christmas with gifts unique to their circumstances.
Last year he gave away $500,000. This year he’s giving away more – A LOT more!
We need your help finding the most deserving people in our communities who have a real need, are doing the best they can with what they have and wouldn’t typically ask for a handout.”
Clearly, someone knew about Jennifer. The type of person that needs help, but is busy helping others.
When the news team arrived to give her her surprise, they didn’t find her at home. She was next door, shoveling her neighbor’s driveway.
When asked by Nate Eaton of East Idaho News, “How are you doing?” Her answer was a simple,
“We’ve been better.”
Talk about an understatement!
By the time she understands why there is a news team at her house, she is anxious and fidgety. She takes several deep breaths to contain herself, and when asked if she needs to sit down, she answers,
“No. It’s been a week.”
She’s offered a little box and opens it. She finds a check for $20,000, and she breaks down, speechless and crying. She tries to collect herself and apologizes for losing it. Then she continues.
“Today is rough. I just lost my dad a week ago to COVID. In Arizona. And I just got back from the doctors.”
This woman has more strength than a lot of people I know put together.
Somebody cares about you.
Eaton tells her he realizes that money can’t take away her pain, but he hoped that knowing someone cared about her would bring her some comfort.
She desperately wants to know who her benefactor is, but they can’t reveal the information.
Jennifer’s message to him is,
“I’m so grateful. Thank you so much. I don’t know how this happened, but I promise to try to pay it forward—continue to pay it forward.”
Since she’s out shoveling her neighbor’s driveway and does volunteer work every week at Ethel Boyes Elementary working with young children and helping them read, I’m not surprised she’s not all about the taking. She’s interested in giving back as well.
After many hugs, the news team prepares to go. But since she’s been visibly shaken by the whole episode, they suggest she head back home and sit down inside.
Her reply? She points at her neighbor’s partially shoveled driveway and says,
“I’ve got to finish.”
Are you surprised? I’m not.
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