Wednesday, November 3, 2010
PAYING IT FORWARD
Penny's From Heaven Foundation, Inc, just graduated eleven new teams! As each was tested and graduated, there were tears. Why? Because it is hard work, sacrifice and tenacity! What we do requires tears, demands them, and is futile without them. Tears show we are human and in our humaness we find that place deep inside where we can help in the healing process of those who need us the most. These teams are beginning the journey of a lifetime.
These teams don't know it yet, but they are about to become heroes! They will develop friendships that last a lifetime, find relationships that are built on the fragile ground of infinite illnesses, and place smiles on faces that haven't had one for a very long time. They will become 'safe' people and provide no challenges to anyone. Instead of taking soup or cake, they will provide balance in fragile lives by the simple and heartfelt introduction of their dogs. Quality of lives will change, not the lives themselves!
We are not here to 'change lives.' That is not in our hands. We are here to make a difference in a moment, a single moment. A smile brought to a face, a string of words from a patient who hasn't spoken for weeks, a arm that decides it is time to move to reach and pet a warm furry head. These are the moments we treasure, the moments that tell us why we are present for those who need us the most.
There are times when they will never know if they made the slightest difference in a life or not. But one thing I can guarantee them is that they will have. It is not about them or their dog; it is solely about that person struggling to get through the next week, hour, or moment. They will make a difference and they will be better people because of it.
"Heroes are not fearless.
They are the ones who feel it most
Yet stand up for all they believe.
They are defined by what they overcome
Not by what they do not feel"
From Amanda who works in cardiology at BAMC with her new therapy dog, Buster. "I am so excited... it finally sunk in today. My adrenal glands were on overdrive last night and I couldn't sleep... much better this am.... and I am walking proud! We still have a lot of work to do and many things to learn.... but I did share the news with my patients today! Thank you!"
Having these newly certified dog teams makes me rich! I feel like I am just beginning to 'pay it forward.' What a blessing that feeling is. So I say, "No thank you." But somehow my little thank you seems small in comparison to what they have given me and to what the journey they are about to embark on will bring to them and to all the lives they touch.