nature mimics life

     Today I was out in my yard contemplating pulling all my flowers to make way for some mums, pumpkins and gourds. That's when I noticed a random geranium growing up out of the rocks, next to one of my planters. Normally that wouldn't be so strange, except I decided not to plant geraniums this summer, and yet somehow this perfectly beautiful flower was beginning to grow while everything else was starting to die and go dormant. I marveled in the realization that this tiny flower represented life, death, relationships and change in so many different ways...
     I smiled at the thought of someone somewhere planting flowers, probably sometime in early June and the excitement summer must have brought for them. Most likely, they never thought as they cared for their plants that the seeds might end up somewhere else; to grow, flourish and bring happiness especially with a chilly season upon us. I could put a lot of stories here to illustrate how this flower mimics life, but on this day, for reasons I don't know, this tiny plant made me think of someone I had a chance meeting with several years ago.
     I was out with my sister at a local bar, which is technically a historical landmark. That makes it sound architectually awesome, but really it's just a dive (my favorite kind of place). I started talking to a young man, who I initially thought was just a punk twenty-two year old kid with a shaved head, t-shirt, jeans and a white shell necklace like we used to wear in the late 80s.
     "Everything has a way of coming back," I thought to myself.
     Upon talking to him, he shared that he was leaving soon for Iraq. Shortly after 9/11, he had enlisted in the Marines. I winced when he told me. We talked for quite a while on the subject. The entire time, I couldn't help but think how naive he was and yet how invincible he acted. He had no idea what he was about to see and I certainly didn't think he would ever come back alive. He told me he wasn't afraid to die, if it meant fighting for his country. 
     Over the next few days, I thought about all the young men and women like him who were willing to step up and fight for our country, even if it meant dying. I was grateful and depressed at the same time. I sat down and typed him a note telling him how I felt about him sacrificing his life, so the rest of us could continue in ours. I wish I had the exact words still today, but I don't. Keep in mind, I didn't even know his name or who he was, but I kept the note in my purse just in case our paths crossed before he left. Two weeks later, on a sidewalk in a town near mine, I ran into him and gave him my letter expressing my genuine heartfelt gratitude for doing such an honorable act.
     I was actually sort of embarrassed giving it to him and I didn't even say two words, then I turned and walked away.
     Four years later, I was standing in the same bar when someone briskly came up behind me, grabbed my hand, and pulled me to the dance floor. It was then I realized, it was that same punk kid who resembled much more of a man now. When he looked at me, we stopped dancing. He picked me up off my feet and hugged me so hard I could barely breathe. He yanked me off the dance floor and we formally introduced ourselves.
     He made it home. He looked different, older and not so naive anymore. He said, "I had hoped someday to run into you again, so I could thank you for saving my life. The letter you wrote me...I kept it the entire time I was gone and I read it again and again. I thought I was going to die, I saw people die, and I had to kill people. It was the worst experience in my life and every single time I wanted to give up, I read your letter." To my surprise he opened his wallet to get it out, but remembered he set it on his dresser at home before he left for the evening. I have no words to describe how it felt to know what taking twenty minutes to write a simple thank you note did for someone over four years...just as someone who planted a flower some months ago did for me and an almost forgotten memory.
     The smallest acts of kindness which seem to go unnoticed can produce the greatest outcome. It seems almost ridiculous how we go through life doing everyday things never thinking we might be planting a seed and impacting someones life with our actions. What an ominous thought! I was fortunate in that my story has come full circle and I can share it with others, but imagine what we don't know.
     Kindness grows wherever the wind takes it.


  1. Wow.... that's all I have to say!!! Truly amazing!!!

  2. You are an honorable woman, JoJo.

  3. Thank you Shane. You are a great friend indeed.

  4. Such eloquent writing! Thank you for sharing that again! :)

  5. Very nice writing, love the geranium example! NIce to meet you via Deja Vu!

  6. That was a great story. Thanks for sharing, Jo.

  7. I love that last line. What beautiful imagery. Thanks for sharing this!

  8. Oh, wow, this is awesome. I got chills when I read the part about him coming up to you in the bar and how your letter saved his life. So amazing. And I, too, love that last line. Little acts of kindness can make a huge difference in people's lives, for sure! Thank you for this beautiful post.

  9. Wow, thank you for posting comments! Love them! Thank you for reading!


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