We can all be angels to one another. We can choose to obey the still small stirring within, the little whisper that says, "Go. Ask. Reach out. Be an answer to someone's plea. You have a part to play...." The world will be a better place for it. And wherever they are, the angels will dance. -- Joan Wester Anderson, Where Angels Walk
If You Knew That the World Needed What Only You Could Bring, How Would You Live?
My mother taught me how to add. She was always adding up how much we had and how much other people had and how much everything cost.
My sister taught me to subtract. She was always subtracting how much attention I got from how much attention she got.
My father taught me to divide. He divided the world into two sides: the good guys and the bad guys, the right guys and the wrong guys, the ones who would make it and the ones who wouldn't.
It was my grandmother who taught me to multiply. Making a loaf of Sabbath bread on Friday morning was her favorite teaching tool. As she kneaded the dough, she said,
"This is what the world does to you sometimes. It stretches you, and pushes you around, and turns you over, and slaps you into shape. This is so the gifts you brought into the world get stronger, ketzaleh."
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Then her long, crafty fingers patted the dough round and sprinkled flour all over, as if it were a baby's tush. After cradling it into a large glass bowl, she let me blanket it with an immaculate towel and place it gently near the stove.
"Now comes the magic. We'll go clean the house for Shabbat. By the time we are finished, the magic will have happened."
"What's the magic, Grandma? Tell me."
Her face crinkled like white taffeta as she smiled and said,
"Just come back every fifteen minutes and peek. You'll see the magic."
And I did. While she washed and dusted and folded, I kept running into the kitchen, lifting the towel, and peeking at the golden, round baby bread. Nothing. But I didn't give up. I trusted Grandma completely.
Finally, when I lifted the towel I saw that the bread had grown into a golden balloon that filled the whole bowl. I ran to tell her about the magic.
I dragged her back to the kitchen to show her what had happened. Her eyes sparkled as she laughed.
"Ketzaleh, it really isn't magic. It's the yeast that makes it rise twice as big."
I must have looked crushed, because she placed a floury hand on my forehead and said,
"But, my darling, watch what happens now. This is really something."
Then she turned the dough out of the bowl and plopped it onto the floury counter, stretching, slapping, stretching, slapping until the dough was a thick, flat disc.
"Grandma, you're killing it!" I squealed.
"No, my precious. This will help the bread rise even higher than before. It will make the dough stretchy and strong."
Once again she rubbed flour all over it and placed the bowl back near the stove.
"Now, you keep peeking like you did before, and let me know when that dough is twice as big. Then I'll tell you about the real magic."
Faithfully, I kept peeking. Sure enough, the bread multiplied. As she squeezed the dough into three thick snakes, I asked her,
"Grandma, do people have yeast inside them? Is that what makes us grow bigger?"
"In people, it's the life force that makes your body grow, but there's another kind of yeast that makes your soul grow."
Leaning toward me, she whispered the next words slowly, right into my ear.
"We call it love. Love for the people in your family, and for your friends. Love for the people in your neighborhood, everywhere, and for all the animals and plants in the world.
In my grandmother's mystical tradition, it is taught that we are angels to one another. It is said that we are sent, without our knowledge, to various places in order to do our destined work and make love multiply. Thus any person on earth may be called upon to act as an unwitting angel for another. Once I became aware of this possibility, the opportunities seemed to multiply endlessly.
Life Gives Us Seeds As A Way Of Saying, "Please."
The gifts you carry, even if you do not know what they are or have not felt them stirring in you for decades, are needed by the rest of us. If you allow yourself to know this, you will also come to recognize that in every person you meet, there is a seed of light. All those gifts are needed now. Each and every one of us belongs. There can be no orphans; there can be no exiles or aliens.
Only when we appreciate the unique gifts that each of us has to offer and the shining web of connection that holds us all can we open ourselves to the full potential of what we can achieve together.
Reprinted with permission from New World Library.
©2008. www.newworldlibrary.com 800-972-6657 ext. 50.
This article was excerpted from:
Spot of Grace: Remarkable Stories of How You DO Make a Difference
by Dawna Markova.
You don’t have to discover penicillin, feed the poor in the streets of Calcutta, or be the first person to swim to Antarctica to make a remarkable difference in the world. The stories in Spot of Grace tell about moments when one person did something very simple — asked a question in wonder, smiled from the heart, risked a reach across the chasm of isolation so many of us experience. Extraordinary things start with these ordinary gestures. And as they grow and flourish, they can make a profound difference in someone else’s life.
About the Author
Inspirational speaker and writer Dawna Markova, PhD is internationally known for her groundbreaking work in helping people learn with passion and live with purpose. She is the author of numerous books including the bestsellers Random Acts of Kindness and I Will Not Die an Unlived Life. A long-term cancer survivor (she was told she had six months to live almost thirty years ago), Dawna has appeared on numerous television programs, and is a frequent guest on National Public Radio and New Dimensions. She offers seminars and workshops and speaks at business and educational conferences internationally. Her website is www.dawnamarkova.com.