Words of Regret: The Sandpiper

Gerry via CC Flickr

Gerry via CC Flickr

A day or so ago, I read the following story, written by Robert Peterson, who was the man mentioned in this story. It reminded me of how often we are so wrapped up the trials, troubles, or business of our everyday lives…that sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and really enjoy our life. We forget that other people might be dealing with their own hardships and we become careless with the words and actions towards them.

It is my hope that this story will touch your heart and remind you to take time to enjoy the life that you have and try to find uplifting and positive words that may help a person in need.

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.

“Hello,” she said. I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.

“I’m building,” she said.

“I see that. What is it?” I asked, not really caring.

“Oh, I don’t know, I just like the feel of sand.”

That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by.

“That’s a joy,” the child said.

“It’s a what?” I asked.

“It’s a joy, my mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy.” The bird went gliding down the beach.

“Good-bye joy,” I muttered to myself, “hello pain,” and turned to walk on. I was depressed; my life seemed completely out of balance.

“What’s your name?” She wouldn’t give up.

“Robert,” I answered. “I’m Robert Peterson.”

“Mine’s Wendy….I’m six.”

“Hi, Wendy.”

She giggled. “You’re funny,” she said. In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me.

“Come again, Mr. P,” she called. “We’ll have another happy day.”

The days and weeks that followed belonged to others; a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and an ailing mother.

The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. “I need a sandpiper,” I said to myself, gathering up my coat. The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly, but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed. I had forgotten the child and was startled when she appeared.

“Hello, Mr. P,” she said. “Do you want to play?”

“What did you have in mind?” I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.

“I don’t know, you say.”

“How about charades?” I asked sarcastically.

Her tinkling laughter burst forth again. “I don’t know what that is.”

“Then let’s just walk,” I said. Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face. “Where do you live?” I asked.

“Over there.” She pointed toward a row of summer cottages. Strange, I thought, in winter.

“Where do you go to school?”

“I don’t go to school. Mommy says we’re on vacation.” She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things.

When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed. Three weeks later, I rushed to the beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home.

“Look, if you don’t mind,” I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, “I’d rather be alone today.”

She seemed unusually pale and out of breath. “Why?” she asked.

I turned to her and shouted, “Because my mother died!” and thought, “My God, why was I saying this to a little child?”

“Oh,” she said quietly, “then this is a bad day.”

“Yes,” I said, “and yesterday and the day before and – oh, go away!”

“Did it hurt?” she inquired

“Did what hurt?” I was exasperated with her, with myself.

“When she died?” she asked.

“Of course it hurt!” I snapped, misunderstand, wrapped up in myself. I strode off.

A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn’t there. Feeling guilty, ashamed and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.

“Hello,” I said. “I’m Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was.”

“Oh, yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much. I’m afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies.”

“Not at all-she’s a delightful child,” I said, suddenly realizing that I meant what I had just said.

“Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukemia. Maybe she didn’t tell you.”

Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch my breath.

“She loved this beach; so when she asked to come, we couldn’t say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called “happy days. But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly…” Her voice faltered.

“She left something for you…if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?” I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something to say to this lovely young woman.

She handed me a smeared envelope with “Mr. P” printed in bold, childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues – a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed: A SANDPIPER TO BRING YOU JOY.

Tears welled up in my eyes and a heart that had almost forgotten how to love opened wide. I took Wendy’s mother in my arms. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.” I muttered over and over, and we wept together.

The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words – one for each year of her life – that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea-blue eyes and hair the color of sand – who taught me the gift of love.

NOTE:
This is a true story sent out by Robert Peterson. It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy life, living, and each other.

“The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.” Life is so complicated, the hustle and bustle of everyday traumas can make us lose focus about what is truly important and what is only a momentary setback or crisis. Today, tomorrow, be sure to give your loved ones an extra hug, and by all means, take a moment….even if it is only ten seconds, to stop and smell the roses

A Box of Kisses

Photo Credit: asenat29 via Slickr

Photo Credit: asenat29 via Slickr

There are times in our lives when we react to situations without thinking or knowing the facts in negative ways: saying inappropriate things, losing our temper etc. In the end, once we find out what REALLY happened and WHY…we often feel humiliated, ashamed or foolish. This is a story that will touch your heart and hopefully, and remind us to remember to be patient, take our time and understand why sometimes, when we jump to the wrong conclusions, it can affect us more than we could ever imagine.

This is a re-post of one of the first blogs that I ever posted.

The story goes that some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, “This is for you, Daddy.”

The man was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found out the box was empty. He yelled at her, stating, “Don’t you know, when you give someone a present, there is supposed to be something inside? The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and cried, “Oh, Daddy, it’s not empty at all. I blew kisses into the box. They’re all for you, Daddy.”

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness.

Only a short time later, an accident took the life of the child. It is also told that her father kept that gold box by his bed for many years and, whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

We need to remember that while our words can help uplift and soothe a person’s soul…they can also be hurtful. We need to be careful of “jumping to conclusions” and saying things that may hurt someone before knowing an entire situation. In a very real sense, each one of us, as humans beings, have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses… from our children, family members, friends, and God. There is simply no other possession, anyone could hold, more precious than this.

A Box of Kisses: Words of Regret

Photo Credit: 123rf.com

Photo Credit: 123rf.com

This is a story that will touch your heart and hopefully, help you to understand why sometimes, when we jump to the wrong conclusions, it can affect you more than you’ll ever know.

The story goes that some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, “This is for you, Daddy.”

The man was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found out the box was empty. He yelled at her, stating, “Don’t you know, when you give someone a present, there is supposed to be something inside? The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and cried, “Oh, Daddy, it’s not empty at all. I blew kisses into the box. They’re all for you, Daddy.”

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness.

Only a short time later, an accident took the life of the child. It is also told that her father kept that gold box by his bed for many years and, whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each one of us, as humans beings have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses… from our children, family members, friends, and God. There is simply no other possession, anyone could hold, more precious than this.