“Each of us can look back upon someone who made a great difference in our lives, someone whose wisdom or simple acts of caring made an impression upon us. In all likelihood it was someone who sought no recognition for their deed other than the joy of knowing that, by their hand, another’s life had been made better.”
Stephen M. Wolf
We all have them. Those saints who have touched our lives and made a difference in all that matters in our world. People who make a difference without even trying. People who live in the moment and embrace each instant as an opportunity to give a little bit of themselves.
I have many of these people in my life. After almost 53 years of living I am happy to say that I have had a full life with many experiences and relationships with people who have made the difference. God willing—I will continue to have these relationships.
Perhaps one of the most important people in my younger years (parents and other family members aside) was a local librarian. Mrs. Irene Chandler was the librarian when I lived in North Fairfield, Ohio. Mrs. Chandler was an amazing woman and I know I use that word a lot but she was. She was not in the best of health, walked with a cane if I remember correctly and had some trials to overcome but she was the perfect person for a young girl to buddy up with. We moved to North Fairfield (current population 560) when I was going into 3rd grade and lived there through my 7th grade year. I had a paper route (Yay for the Sandusky Register!) and the library was conveniently on my route. I stopped in daily. My love of reading was fueled by Mrs. Chandler and she saw to it that I had the best selection of books in the tiny 2 room library. She loved me unconditionally. She saw something in that skinny stringy haired little girl that was special. Living in a small town and being the preacher’s daughter was not always easy but she saw to it that I felt good about myself and I found solace in the library.
My papers always got delivered but there was always the afternoon stop to see Mrs. Chandler and get a book or two. She had a special drawer where she kept snacks. Many times she would insist that I take the rest of the bag of pretzels home or they “would go bad”. She spoiled me. But more than spoiling me she showed me love in a way that was real. She was an insatiable reader also and I still remember her telling me what books she loved the most. To this day I still call them “hysterical novels” because of her.
Oh how I hope I am able to say that I had a lasting impression upon someone like Mrs. Chandler had upon me. She showed total acceptance and love and compassion for a little girl who did not always feel so great about herself. She showed love with not only her words but with her actions. When we moved from there I mourned the loss of my daily visits with her. Her daughter brought her to our wedding years and years later and I was thrilled to have her be there for our special day.
I know that I have been blessed way more than I deserve to be in this life. I cling to those relationships with those who made a difference and I am grateful for each and every one. Today I think about Mrs. Chandler and hope that she knew just what a special person she was in my life.