Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Barbara - An Open Letter

So many of you have stepped forward that I know you will want to see letters I received yesterday from "Barbara" and from Kandi.

From Barbara:

"Words can not begin to express my appreciation for what you, Kandi, and so
many wonderful people have done for my children and me. When I met Kandi I had
no clue she was the angel who had been sent for us. As time has passed, it has
become evident to me that she truly bears a halo and wings.

"When Kandi first told me of your interest in helping, my thought was,
why? I couldn't figure out why someone would be concerned about a total
stranger. Lord knows we all have issues of our own that can consume us. I had
been praying for guidance, or solutions to my issues when Kandi, you, and so
many other kind people came into my life.

"The first night Kandi showed up at my apartment with a gift of
candles, I felt guilty that I didn't have anything to offer her. I soon realized
she didn't bring me a gift to receive one back. She also brought my little girl
an "angel Barbie" the first time she met her. It was so touching, because as you
know, Down's Syndrome children are often referred to as "angels." It was
particularly special because I know how difficult things are for Kandi knowing
her health situation, the fact that she's in college and works, yet she still
has made time to make us a priority in her life.

"The first night Kandi called after your article appeared, she said she
needed to come to my apartment to "unload her car." I didn't know what she meant
but was SHOCKED to say the least when she arrived. We could barely carry all the
boxes of groceries! By the time Kandi left, I had felt a rush of positive
emotions -- happiness, joy, excitement, and amazement - where had these people
come from and why? As it turns out, they have come from several states, and
their generosity has been overwhelming. Kandi and I spend an entire day
rearranging kitchen cabinets to make room for all the groceries. I also received
a wish pearl, numerous boxes of clothing for my children and some personal items
-- bath salts, lotions, and sprays just for me, things that it has been a long
time since I have experienced. We also received gift cards, monetary donations,
and words of kindness, all of which have gone to good use. My children have new
backpacks for school this year, the first time in 3 years; they have school
supplies and new tennis shoes for gym class. And, most importantly, we have

"Last night, I had the pleasure of meeting your other daughter, Katy.
She is so different than Kandi, but both have big hearts and can express their
feelings so easily, without delay or embarrassment. Katy brought me a much
needed box of kitchen supplies, 90 pieces! As I look at your girls, I can only
hope I do as well parenting and teaching my children as you and their mother
have done.

"I am still trying to put together the words to express my appreciation
to everyone who has come forward for us. Thank you just doesn't seem to be
enough. My son often asks how Kandi does all of this for us and why. I do the
best I can at explaining to him, "Remember how difficult things have been since
February when we left Daddy's house and we prayed and prayed to Jesus to help us
get through the difficult times. Well, Kandi and so many nice people were the
answer to those prayers."

From Kandi:

"I don't know how to describe what the kindness of so many people has done for
Barbara, and for me, too.
"Barbara told her little girl that I was an angel,
but I corrected her and told her that she was the 'angel.' She smiled up at me
and it melted my heart.
"Barbara and her two wonderful children have taught
me some important lessons:

- Happiness comes from being in service to others. It's that simple. Santideva, in the Tibetan Book Of Living and Dying, said it best,

"Whatever joy there is in this world,
All comes from desiring others to be happy,
And whatever suffering there is in this world,
All comes from desiring myself to be happy.”

- Never take anything or anyone or any day for granted. We are not guaranteed a second chance, and many times do not receive one.

- A true friend reaches for your hand and touches your heart. I can never begin to thank everyone enough, but Barbara and I have sent thank you cards to everyone who provided a return address. Please know that thanks to your efforts, Barbara's rent has been paid; she has paid her car insurance so she can drive to work; she can afford counseling once again for herself and the children; her medical insurance has been reinstated; no one goes hungry. There is hope and optimism for the future.


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