“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” Dietrich Bonheoffer
Today I want to be grateful for one special person in my life; who is not related by blood neither is she a best friend of mine. She is in no way connected with me, neither she belong to my community, my state and my country.
We have never met, nor have we interacted with each other; she entered my life when my son was just 4 years old and my daughter was 7 years. My husband’s family lived with us; being eldest son he was responsible for his mother, sister and brother. Both of us worked to keep our family together and at the same time help my sister in law and brother in law settle down in marriage.
|Photo by Mrs Marilyn Park, winter at New York|
My daughter was a bundle of joy; and she was pampered and given full attention till, my son arrived when she was turning 3 years; a Down syndrome child. My daughter studied in a CBSC school. The early days of my son was not so difficult to manage; as he was too small and we did know what would be his problem; gradually we found he was developing respiratory issues, and his developments were slightly delayed compared to my daughter.
It was a challenging task to manage him, as he needed more time for everything and I was visiting the hospital every alternate month. The medical expenses were high for him, and added to this I found very difficult to find a school that would accommodate a Down syndrome child.
|Photo by Mrs Marilyn Park and sent to Maria Dorothy|
It was at this juncture; Mrs. Marilyn Park entered our lives through an organization that sponsored education for children. Seeing my plight one of my priest friend recommended my daughter’s name for the sponsorship. From then on till the next five years my daughter’s education was supported. It was a great blessing for us and we were fortunate enough to find a suitable special educator for my son who could give him home tuition, which was also supported by a close friend of mine.
Thus a beautiful relationship was born and I feel blessed and privileged to connect with her; for she was very articulate and wrote to my daughter regularly about everything under the sun. One letter she stated that she had framed my daughter’s photograph and kept in the front room, and prayed everyday for her.
I preserved every letter of hers as my daughter would read those letters with pride. She would send lovely cards for her birthday, Xmas, New Year, Easter and sometimes very beautiful pictures of autumn, winter and her tours and travel. She was very fond of gardening; taking care of cats, knitting and painting.
I have a beautiful portrait of my son and daughter painted by her with great love and patience. It was a proud moment for my daughter when she saw the painting; as she never met my son and daughter in person, only looking at one or two pictures; she was able to do the oil painting.
|Oil Painting by Mrs Marilyn Park and sent to Maria|
Today I am filled with gratitude for all the support and help I have received for my kids; after the death of my son in 2011. I withdrew my daughter’s name from the sponsorship; so that somebody more deserving than my child could take this sponsorship. Also I felt we could manage to take care of one child.
Having experienced so much of generosity and help I made a decision to support a child for education. I also encourage and keep reminding my daughter that when she settles down she must pay forward what she has received.
There is a sense of happiness and joy when we begin to share our blessings. My heart is filled with gratitude for every small little help I have received in bringing up my kids. Even though my son Emmanuel is no more, he has put a strong desire in my heart to do something for the Down syndrome kids…. I am still in the process of exploring and finding ways to reach out to them…. though I was connected to the school he went for a short while.. there is still a lot more to do for these children.
I am glad for every experience of life that has made me rich but has also taught me so many things that other wise I would not have known. We never forget to whisper a prayer for Mrs. Marilyn Park who became so much a part of our lives; and continues to live in our hearts.
“Keep your eyes open and try to catch people in your company doing something right, then praise them for it.” Tom Hopkins
Be Blessed & Be Happy!