An email I received on Friday blew me away. It was so unexpected and so amazingly wonderful to receive that it made me speechless. A feat, for those who know me, that few can accomplish and I knew immediately that it was fodder for my next blog.
Nearly five years ago, I found a crafter online to make a rustic sign as a gift for my husband as a Christmas present. After tracing his family lineage, we had learned that his 8th great-grandfather owned an inn in Wethersfield, Connecticut that shared our family name and figured prominently in the planning between General George Washington and General Comte de Rochambeau on how they would join forces for the siege at Yorktown. I thought a weathered sign, commemorating the inn and event would be a fun gift and great piece for his “man cave” at our lake house. Unfortunately, when it arrived, the date was wrong by 90 years; instead of the correct 1781, it was listed as 1871.
I reached out to the get the sign corrected and was promised a replacement sign; it never came. The wrong sign, gifted that year with the promise a correct replacement was forthcoming, was relegated to the basement where it has sat for years. After a few attempts at connecting with the proprietress of the website, I finally gave up in defeat. I thought about trying to correct it myself, but I never did. I chalked it up to a wasted $100 and periodically thought about tossing it in the garbage, but never got around to it.
So you can imagine my shock when this email comes out of the blue on Friday: “I am hoping this is still your address… I did a custom sign for you years ago … I was in the process of correcting it when … [enter a series of unthinkable personal, health and other events simultaneously occur] … I know I made a mistake with the date and this as haunted me all this time. For the life of me I do not remember if I ever got it repainted and sent to you…”
She goes on to tell me the journey she has been on to put her life back together and how her concern over taking care of my simple sign has been an issue in her own road to recovery. It makes me feel horrible about the bitter thoughts I had in the early days, when I saw that sign and wondered why my emails went unanswered. It gives me hope that there are those out there who know, deep down, that people matter, customer service reigns supreme and that our word is our bond and our own personal credibility.
I know by the emails we’ve since exchanged that the road to recovery she’s been on has been challenging, but her attitude and commitment to getting her life back will be the fuel that takes her, not only to where she was before her world took a dramatic turn, but to places of greatness she cannot imagine. Her “can-do” attitude and positive outlook on having her life back is sheer inspiration! Despite pain, financial loss and much heartache, she sees herself as victorious! She told me in an email,
“I can do nothing and be miserable or I can do what I love and pay the price! I choose the latter!”
Something tells me the payment for her choice will be beyond her wildest dreams. God has a way of opening doors and doing wonderful things for those who seek to serve him and do the right thing.
So thank you, Jean, for giving me a renewed hope in this world again. You’ve made my weekend and I’ve shared your story so many times. I’ll be keeping both signs – hanging them together – so I can always remember and share the story of why it is important to never, ever, lose faith in people…even those you will likely never meet. For you just never know the back story or when the truth will hit you square in the eye and make you stand in the mirror and have to face your own faith in humanity.
We’ve all made mistakes in life. Some of us – me included – have made some really BIG ones. But the amazing thing is, big or small, it is never too late to set those past mistakes right. We can always seek forgiveness and find a way to move forward in life with no regret. When we take that burden off of our back, we will find that we can soar to heights we could only dream of before!