Positive Inspirational Stories
Positive Featured Inspirational Story - September 25 to October 23, 2005
The Sandpiper . . . to bring you joy!
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 am 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?'
"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.'
After a few days of 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.
'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. The tinkling laughter burst forth again.
'I don't know what that is.'
'Then let's just walk.'
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 my 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 and with myself.
"When she died?' she asked.
'Of course it hurt!' I snapped, misunderstanding, 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-coloured hair opened the door. 'HelIo,' 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 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 understanding love.
A gift from a child with sea blue eyes and hair the colour of sand - who taught me the gift of love.
Written by Robert Peterson
This happened many years ago and the incident changed Robert's life forever. It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy living and life 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 or what is only a momentary setback or crisis. This week, 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.
My sincere thanks to my good friend Mal Hales from Eaglehawk in Victoria (Australia) for sending this inspirational story to me.
'Sandpipers' - shorebirds that are found that worldwide except in Antarctica. Most breed in the Northern Hemisphere but migrate extensively; they are found particularly along shorelines and in open country near lakes, ponds, and streams.
- Inspirational Stories
- Finding a Forever Home
- Grandma's Thimble
- When you thought I wasn't looking
- Left Behind
- Enjoy your nectarine
- The Old Phone . . . How do you spell fix?
- You make a difference
- Lessons from Geese
- The Richest Man in the Valley
- The Making of a Memory
- Why The Elephants Dont Run
- The Sandpiper . . . to bring you joy
- They don't walk in your shoes . . . Click, Click, Click!
- The Happiest Day of My Life
- Courage - Despite the Odds
- You just never know
- Learning to Listen
- If it is meant to be, it will be
- The Learning Tree
- The Red Marbles
- The Weeds of Our Lives
- The Distinct Sound of Purring
- Flowers for the Teacher
- The Red Ribbon
- Santa's Love
- All The Good Things
- Yusuf - He's My Brother
- Extra Good Luck
- Hoo Hoo Fraks
- Stand tall like the Sunflower
- Unique Words of Forgiveness
- I Got Back On My Seat
- Brick Wall
- White Envelopes
- Love and Music in Their Hearts
- Birthday Cards with Secret Codes
- Gift Exchange - lessons about life!
- When the message light doesn't blink
- Tenant Farmers
- I know you by heart
- In Clay Vessels
- Letting Go
- When the nest emptied
- When the birdies came
- Broken Eggs and Shattered Glass
- After the applause, make time for words of praise!
- Are you a bucker filler or a dipper
- Choosing Confidence
- The Stone Soup Story
- A Mother's Job
- Hugging Life
- The Perfect Partnership
- Acknowledging a Special Treat
- A Different Perspective
- Life is meant to be lived
- Treasured Traditions
- Rules for a better way to live
- I Just Get Started
- Memories sustain us on Father's Day
- Creating Opportunity
- Forgiving without condoning or forgetting
- Nothing is long or short, hot or cold, good or bad!
- The Power of Discipline
- Sentry of the Homestead
- You deserve an Academy Award!
- All in the Family
- What is your Passion?
- We danced through life
- A choice to make
- Five ingredients of personal growth
- Acres of Diamonds
- If you look like a duck . . .
- The Secret of Happiness
- Harvesting Love
- It's music to your ears
- A Special Brand of Luck
- They are just empty cars
- Thou Art An Eagle
- Encouragement Works
- When you're in the cement mixer
- Plant Annually
- Life and Its Legs
- No Barriers in Life
- Getting Started
- Good Leaders are Good Followers
- How much do you want it to be
- How to improve your vision
- What forgiveness will buy
- Why let that hold you back
- Letting the yeast work its magic
- 9 things that make good employees quit
- The Beginning of Positive Thinking
- Giving Back
- May you be known by your love
- Expand your vision of possibilities
- We are meant for the skies
- Mr Belser died last night
- Are you dead on the job
- What makes us happy
- Motivating Others
- The clock is running so make the most of today
- Calming the muddy waters
- Keeping New Year's Resolutions - the secret additive
- You are unique
- Web of Love
- Is happiness around the corner
- Seeing Life Through New Eyes
- An enriching action
- The Road to Significance and Success
- The real purpose of your life
- With leadership its the little things that matter
- The Obstacle in our Path
- Good deeds no matter how small can change the world for someone
- Accepting responsibility has its rewards
- An Inspiring Thanksgiving
- The Ever-Flowing Spiral of Love
- Clementine - My Very First Dog
- The Little Nail
- His Greatest Treasure
- Their love comes with no strings and has no boundaries
- Three Simple Words that Change Everything
- Thank You
- Moral Courage - The Engine of Integrity