STORIES OF HOPE

About six years ago my life was in shambles. I had to leave a marriage of 28 years. This meant walking out the door of the home I had helped build with 3 hours notice and temporarily move in with a friend. I had no money, no home and two distraught teenagers. This was at a time when rental properties were very scarce. I spent many days trying to find a temporary place to live, Finally, one day I pulled over to the side of the road and prayed for God's intervention in my life. I needed safety and security for myself and my children. I drove down the street one more time and saw a small sign hidden in a pile of debris that said "For Rent" with a number.About six years ago my life was in shambles. I had to leave a marriage of 28 years. This meant walking out the door of the home I had helped build with 3 hours notice and temporarily move in with a friend. I had no money, no home and two distraught teenagers. This was at a time when rental properties were very scarce. I spent many days trying to find a temporary place to live,Finally, one day I pulled over to the side of the road and prayed for God's intervention in my life. I needed safety and security for myself and my children. I drove down the street one more time and saw a small sign hidden in a pile of debris that said "For Rent" with a number.I called the number and rented the small house. I had very little money, but, thankfully, had a job. Slowly I managed to make a home for my family. However, I was in the deepest depression , One day I decided that the only way to lift myself up was to lift someone else up. How could I do this? I was in the dollar store and spotted the umbrellas. I was given this thought, " If you give someone an umbrella when they are caught in the rain, you can lift their spirits and place a seed of hope that the world is a little kinder than they thought. The first time it rained I pulled over and handed one of my umbrellas out my car window. I hoped that the random recipient felt my intention when I did it.This act actually had a profound spiritual effect on me. It renewed my sense of personal power. It taught me that despite the trauma in my own life, I still had the ability to make our world a little kinder place to be. I know that some day I will be stuck in the rain without an umbrella and the giving will come full circle. A very special umbrella will make its way back to me!

Recently, I was on my way to our local Costco to pick up just a couple forgotten items on our main trip with our 3 year old daughter. It was summertime in the sunshine state and as we all know, that means unpredictable rainy weather. I had several errands to run that day and I had dodged all of the rain up until our last stop. I knew the trip would be short and with all good faith I ran in with my daughter. Feeling proud that I had managed to stay dry as we hustled out the doors of Costco, dark clouds emerged and within seconds heavy rain – of course, I left my umbrella in the car. There I was, holding my now “done-running-errands–toddler" in one arm and paper plates and Krispy Kreams in the other and we just watched it pour. A few moments later, two women ran into the doorway with their umbrellas and one of them looked at me and at my daughter and said, “here!” and offered me her umbrella. I shook my head and gestured with my tied up hands saying, “No, really, it’s ok. We can wait it out. Thank you though.” The woman then smiled and said, “No, here, you can keep it.. I want you to have it,” and just like that she handed it to me. Just like that. I quickly put my daughter down to argue further with the woman that we were fine and I didn’t want to take her umbrella (it was a nice one too).. I said, “What about you? You’ll get all wet..” She looked at me and winked and said, “I’ll be fine.”  Then she was gone. After I got my daughter settled in her car seat and got into the car myself, I proceeded to twist up my new umbrella and fastened it. In that moment I realized the depth of what this complete stranger did for us. This woman gave me her umbrella knowing that she could be dealing with the same dilemma as me when she came out of the store, but it mattered little to her as she wanted my daughter and I to have the shelter instead.  I was so moved by her kind gesture that I declared in that moment that I would do the same for someone else as soon as I had the opportunity and give them this new umbrella. I will never know that woman's name and there is no way I will be able to return her umbrella, but I will return the most selfless act she bestowed upon us. Thank you kind stranger at Costco for giving me the joy in paying it back and forward to someone else. I am looking forward to spreading this kindness and extremely touching gesture to a soul in need of shelter.

Driving along a frequently traveled road it began to rain. The rain shower was the type that came out of seemingly nowhere. I saw a woman and her 3 or maybe even 4 children waiting to cross the road. She had at least on child in a stroller and her pre-teen daughter as well as one or two other small ones. I thought, “Oh no! They got stuck in the rain.”. I pulled my car to the side of the road and handed the daughter my umbrella.  I knew it wouldn’t dry their already wet clothes but maybe it could help. We all struggled. Whether it is being stuck in a literal storm or other. it always helps to know there is someone who cares, someone who is praying you will make it through the storm.

Roseann O'Brien

Courtney

Sarah Martinez