You Never Know Who Is Watching...

By Ell • September 23, 2019

I didn’t grow up in a very loving family. In fact, there are few, if any, happy memories I have of my childhood involving my family members. My happiest moments were spent with the few friends I was allowed to have. My family eventually alienated all the neighbors, so the time came when I didn’t even have neighborhood kids to play with. This was the time before internet. So, I learned to occupy my time reading, discovering nature and setting and achieving small goals for myself. I became quite serious, just to hide my pain.

There was another family in town that, on paper was quite similar to mine. They had a lot of children, aged spaced apart like my own family. They attended the same church. I always wondered what it would be like if my family were more like them. They never knew it, but I watched them and admired them. They were kind, genuine and close – everything I wished my family could be.

Decades later I found myself back at that very same church, in that same small town I had left behind. This time I was in that church for a funeral. It was my mother’s funeral. My family bickered and was divided, as always. I felt saddened that neither time nor circumstance could make them act with loving kindness toward each other. As I approached the church for the funeral, memories came flooding back to me. I remembered the warm, kind smiles of that family that used to sit in the front pews of the church when I was a child. I wondered if those parents had too passed.

After the funeral service a meal was provided in the church basement. After getting a plate of food I scanned the room for a seat with my husband. Then I heard a familiar voice I hadn’t heard in decades call my name. I turned around and he was there, the father of that family I had admired when I was young. He was a church volunteer for my mother’s funeral lunch. We chatted for a bit. I pointed out my happy child to him and it was at that point I realized I was raising my boy in a way I had seen him raise his own children so long ago. He didn’t realize it, but my son’s life has been greatly affected by him. Peace settled into my soul.

Live your life with integrity. You never know who’s watching, who you will inspire and whose life you'll change.

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