Editorials by Robert Kirwan

There Are Never Any Mistakes In Life…Just Detours

   Have you ever noticed that it is usually the little things you do for people that are often the most appreciated? You can buy someone a very expensive gift for Christmas or on a birthday, but if you give some small token of love or gratitude completely out of the blue at any time for no reason at all, the person acts as if it is the nicest thing you have ever done.

   Christmas is coming soon. This is traditionally a time for showing people in our life just how much we care for them...not with the size or cost of a gift, but just with any type of gift or card...even the gift of our presence for a nice visit during the holidays.

   I heard a story the other day about a couple named Kathy and Don, who moved into a new house during the summer. Kathy had the pleasure during the next several months to meet a few of her neighbours who seemed to be extremely nice people. For Christmas, she thought she would do something special for each of the neighbours that she knew. She sat down and counted. There were nine neighbours whom she knew by name or spoke with often when out in her yard. She also knew which houses they lived in.

   Kathy then decided to add one more person to her list for a total of ten. The tenth person was a lady who lived down the street. She met the lady every morning walking to work as she drove down the street. She always managed a contagious smile and a hearty wave. She had no idea what the mystery lady’s name was nor was Kathy even sure which house she lived in.   

   Kathy’s gift idea was to make small fruit baskets and leave them on each of her neighbour’s front porches or door steps on Christmas Eve for them to find, either that night or the next morning. She signed the cards: “Happy Holidays from 5104 Northumberland Road .”

   Kathy saved the friendly lady for last, since she was still not exactly sure where she lived. Finally, Kathy decided upon a house down about where she met her each morning and felt relatively sure that it was hers.  Her neighbours really appreciated the baskets and would thank Kathy as they saw her in the yard or they would call, and a couple even came by to thank her in person.

   One morning on her way to work, Kathy noticed a small note inside her mailbox. It was addressed simply, Resident, 5104 Northumberland Road . She opened the envelope and took out a Thank You card. She opened the card and read the message, which really caught her by surprise.

   The card said, “Thank you for the lovely fruit basket you left on the porch of Richard Kelly. It was very thoughtful. Richard Kelly passed away on January 19, but he never stopped talking about how nice it was that someone remembered him in his time of illness. He really appreciated it.”

   Kathy was sincerely stunned. She had no idea who Richard Kelly was or that he had been gravely ill. She had left that nice lady’s basket on Mr. Kelly’s porch by accident. Kathy firmly believed that Richard Kelly was meant to have that basket and the Lord knew that he only had less than a month to live. She was sorry that the nice lady did not get to receive a fruit basket from her that Christmas, but was sure that she would understand if she ever found out what had happened.

Kathy felt blessed to have helped Richard Kelly’s last days be more cheerful. It further reinforced her belief that there are never any mistakes in life...just detours, shortcuts, and small excursions along the way.

This Christmas, besides making a shopping list for the members of your family and your close friends, make another list of the acquaintances you know less well and see if there isn’t something you can do to make their holidays just a little bit brighter. See if there are any people on the second list who may be having some difficulties in their life and who could use some cheering up. Just think how you feel when you receive a gift or a card from someone unexpected.  It is not so much the gift that counts as it is knowing that the person cares about you. Even a card with a handwritten note may mean the world to someone who needs to know that someone is thinking about them. When you’ve given out all of your Christmas gifts, you may be surprised at which list puts you in the true Christmas Spirit.
   Have a good week!


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