Guest Post by C.B. Wisniewski
My journey on the road of “Pay it Forward” began almost 50 years ago. As a young woman wanting to follow in the noble footsteps of my mother by becoming an “Angel of Mercy”, I entered nursing school. Living away from the safe haven of my family home, my nativity and lack of worldliness quickly became evident. I found it frightening to be on my own. And, my inferior high school education left me ill prepared for the academic challenges that I encountered.
I wanted to “serve” my fellow man and my God. I had hoped that through nursing, I could accomplish what I had identified as my purpose here on this earth. Fate, however, handed me a terrible hand. Try as I did, nursing was not for me. I left school after two semesters feeling defeated and with my head hung in shame.
Ashamed of my failure, knowing that I was not capable of interacting with the old and infirmed nor the sick infants and children, it was all too sad for my young self to deal with. I had a conversation with my God. In that conversation I apologized for my shortcomings and I made Him a promise I knew I could keep. A simple, straight forward promise: “God, I promise that every day I will make one person smile.”
All these years later, I can be proud that I have kept that promise. And, I know that I have lifted many spirits along the way.
Fast forward, while shopping in a New York City artisan shop some fifteen years ago, I spied a small coin-like object with an angel imprinted on its face. I quickly learned that it was a “pocket angel”. At that moment I knew I wanted to carry these coins with me to share with anyone I should encounter facing a momentary or a long-term struggle. For example, over the years, I have shared them with young sales clerks on the verge of tears after getting balled out by an irate customer, with individuals who has lost a loved one, and with those who are struggling with an illness. Whenever and wherever I see someone in need of knowing that they are cared for and that they are loved; I place a pocket angel in their hand and simply say, “This is a gift for you. It is a pocket angel. Now you will always have an angel in your pocket to help you through.”
I have given these to friends and to strangers. The need for all of us to feel love and compassion is great. I hope that sharing these angles impart those emotions to those that receive them.
I will continue to “make one person smile” daily and to distribute “pocket angels” as the need arises. Small gestures, perhaps, but I think they bring a bit of joy and comfort into our world.