The past week has had a few random and (for me) almost embarrassingly flattering moments. I have never been able to accept compliments very well, despite what some may say about us Leos. I always find it embarrassing and I never know what to say. I’ve been working on saying thank you, but usually I just laugh nervously. Friends I haven’t heard from in months or even years have left me simple and short messages telling me how much they appreciate my updates. My friend Diane said it best why I believe in sharing these things with the world:
“Thank you for sharing all of your travels, photos, stories and recipes with us! They often remind me that life is a crazy, wonderful, beautiful experience that I should take more time to appreciate.”
No matter how small the message, I appreciate each one of them immensely; each one inspires me in a different way and has gotten me started on a few different blog posts. However the one I received today from someone who would like to remain anonymous filled my heart with so much happiness. It came after a cryptic note from a friend saying they would like to make a Christmas donation to the “Sandy Living Abroad Foundation.” I was certainly confused, but honestly a little intrigued since I haven’t seen any income since April. I had been trying to brainstorm ways of raising some extra money (selling prints, photo books, etc), but nothing had come to fruition Then again, after what I’ve seen abroad made me feel like the least charitable cause on earth and suggested that my friend make his donation to a worthy charity. Instead I received the following e-mail (*** used to blank out identifying information):
I’m here in here in **** trying to find a way to make my business work, trying to find a way to make my vision a reality. I know it will happen, it’s just a matter of time, blood, sweat, and tears :). My goals keep changing, and the vision for services keeps changing as well. But the one thing that stays the same is the fact that we want to do good with business and the money that we make from business. We want to make a difference in every corner of the globe.
Tonight I came across your profile again. Your pictures show passion, smiles, creativity, fellowship, and adventure. You are truly touching every corner of the globe. But even more, your drive to do what you’re doing is inspiring. To be completely honest…..entrepreneurship is a roller coaster it has its peaks and valleys. Tonight, the pictures of your journey helped me. Thank you!
So, my gift to you comes with a few simple requests.
1) Keep being free. Live your passion and let everyone know you are free.
2) If you see the chance to make a difference in someone’s life, do it. This could be with words of inspiration and hope, or a small financial gift. But, you’re our advocate out there….represent us well and do as much good as you can.
3) Be generous! no matter what your up against.
Keep taking pictures!
Happy Holidays, God Bless…
P.S – Lets keep this between you and I 🙂
P.P.S – The charities out here get a lot of love from us…..I support you, and want you to make the most of your adventure. Besides, you’re the only one I know who has George Winston on vinyl.
The next e-mail I received made me drop my jaw and say “Oh. My. God.” outloud. I felt like it was a slow motion moment in a movie. I almost dropped my laptop that had been balancing on my leg. The next e-mail stated a generous monetary amount (which I also would like to keep unrevealed) had been transferred to my paypal account. I will say it is far greater than what I thought would be something like a $10 christmas gift, but not something that will keep me traveling for another year. It is, however the largest gift I have ever received from anyone. I froze and couldn’t do anything but stare blankly at my screen. Blinking to make sure what I was seeing was real.
Now, I had to sort of break the request to keep this a secret. But this is an act of kindness that can’t go unrecognized. Such a gift needs to be acknowledged, but I will respect the anonymity of this person.
When I was trying to compose myself to write a thank you e-mail, I realized that while the gift was extremely generous, what I took away most was the e-mail. It was a reminder to me about being in touch with my life passion.
Valeria gave me a special stone from Chile that was to help me find my way in life. I’ve been so overwhelmed by everything I’ve experienced and the opportunities that await me, I haven’t really been able to pinpoint something specific. But what the e-mail in combination of other notes of inspiration from my friends reminded me was that nothing moves my heart more than love like inspiration does.
My whole life pivots at the influence and inspiration of some incredible teachers I have had the pleasure of knowing. Words can’t express how much I respect teachers, and I wish more could be done to recognize these amazing people. Teachers are more than underpaid babysitters and infinitely more than the subjects they teach their students. They are purest forms of inspiration. At least in my life they have been. Knowing how much it means to me to be inspired, gives me the motivation to have the same affect on someone else.
My life passion has always been to have the ability to inspire people and impact their lives the way money just can’t buy. I’m so flattered to hear that something like my photos can inspire someone, just for a moment, by chance. I’m used to constantly feeling inspired by those I’ve met along my journey in life. And I am thankful for that. But for the first time, I’ve realized that in my own small way, I am making a positive impact in other people’s lives as well. Finally, I feel like I’m able to give back what I have been so blessed to experience. This is the moment of being alive in life that awakes your soul and allows you be everything you want to be. It’s like everything around you comes into focus and suddenly your energy has becomes ambition with direction.
My desire or purpose in life is not defined and limited to a job or career. My direction in life is to represent love and understanding where ever I may be. Whether it’s as simple learning how to say thank you in the native language of the country I’m in, volunteering at a local charity, or taking the time to get to know a complete stranger. Not everyone will greet me with open arms or a smile, but I’m ok with that. I’m not naive enough to think that everything is sunshine and roses, but I do hope that as long as I continue to live with an open heart, somewhere along the way someone will smile back in their own way.
So what will I plan to do with the money? Who knows, but when the moment arises, I will know. And so will you. Maybe I’ll start a draft entry about what the money was spent on and when it is finally used up, I’ll publish it so everyone knows how this wonderful gift has impacted the lives of others around me.
I hope that this story of someone’s very generous act of kindness will inspire you to indulge in a random act of kindness. Doesn’t have to be anyone you know. Heck, I could hardly say my donor and I are good friends. We’ve met two or three times and only exchanged a handful of e-mails while I’ve been gone. Definitely makes you think twice about making time to get to know the people in your life.