Guidelines: Individual Chapters

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The daytime had not yet been born, and the sky was still dark as I pulled into the gas station to fuel the tank of my parched vehicle. I pulled the collar of my coat up to shield my neck against the bitter cold, and stepped out into the elements. As I prepared to fuel my automobile, the wind swirled around me cutting through my clothes. Tiny snowflakes flurried on the back of the wind, like ghost riders in twilight sky galloping down the collar of my coat.

With a malfunction at the pump, I made my way inside the haven of the gas station to speak with the attendant. She was very polite and promptly got things working. While I was talking to her for just a moment, she began to cry and shared with me that her husband was in the hospital. He’d had an accident, had developed health complications and was not doing well. After our conversation, I noticed that the cold outside didn’t seem to bother me as it did earlier, and suddenly my problems didn’t seem to matter as much as they did before.

I decided to try an experiment, throughout the course of the day I spoke to random people. I found that the young lady who sold me a fishing lure, went out to find a dead battery on her car earlier in the day. By the time she found a ride to the auto parts store, bought a new battery and installed it, she was late to work. She told the story between giggles and an ear to ear grin. Her positive outlook made me smile.

My heart went out to the waitress doing her best to make ends meet, and was cheerfully serving tables in a pair of shoes that were a size too large. She helped me to understand that it’s cheaper to buy tennis shoes that are too large, than it is to pay for expensive bio-medical shoes that can be adjusted when your feet swell due to a medical condition. Her cheerful dedication impressed me.

And my sympathies related to the business owner whom I sat next to during a class. With hope in her voice and a prayer in her heart, she explained to me that due to the downturn in the economy, her company was really struggling. It strengthened me to hear her confidence as she talked about getting through this stretch of rough water and then being able to sail on to bigger and better water!

Without knowing it, by opening up a chapter of their life, each of these people helped me to live a stronger story. I learned that I am not the only one who has tough times in life, and as we take the time to look outside ourselves, we may find that we can bring ourselves to higher ground as we help lift someone else. Life is good, lift someone today.

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