Monthly Archives: April 2015

Someone gave them the money

hPink apricot closed centre croppedWritten by Ruth Howard – founder of The Joy Story

When I write one of these stories I connect with an energy that is bigger than myself. I know I am ‘given’ stories and I believe the reason for that is because I am asked to share them with you. However, there is one ingredient in my stories that each of them has –  and that is my heart. When I think I have finished a story I read it out aloud to myself and if I don’t connect to the energy of it so much that I get a tear or two in my eye, then I sit with it a bit longer. I wrote the story below a week ago and while it touched me I did not follow my usual process. I felt I had a lovely story, but I did not have that tear.  If only I had waited a few more days the universe would have had time to do its job and bring me the energy from my heart space that I needed for this story to be really ‘full’, the one that I cannot not put down on paper. The universe would have had time to arrange for me to have yet another experience of a story where ‘someone gave them the money’. Only this time it would be personal.

Very early yesterday morning as we were coming home from our morning walk, my husband and I were approached by a young man. He was standing on a corner outside a block of flats and looked a little worse for wear. He told us he had locked himself out of his flat the night before and his mobile was playing up and he could not ring out on it. He had spent the night on someone’s couch. As we did not have our phones with us we walked home, got them, and went back looking for him. We found him and using my phone he rang his landlord and we heard him leave a message for the landlord to come and help him, with his master key. My heart went out to this young man. He looked like he needed a shower and a coffee so I offered him both. He accepted and in the next half hour we learnt a lot about him. I trusted that this experience was for a reason. I did not question it – it simply flowed. After he thanked us and was about to leave, I gave him some money so he could get something to eat. I knew he did not have any money on him and he promised to return my gift, and I think he will. In that moment I did not care if I never saw that money ever again.

My original post is about two stories where large amounts of money were given. Those who gave did not want the money returned.

The first story was told to me by a friend when I bumped into him in the main  street of the little village where we both live. Two days later the second story was told to me by a friend when we were having lunch together.

imagesHere is the first story.
A few years ago the owner of the shop near where my friend and I were standing was having trouble keeping the shop open as sales were not covering costs. Many shops in our area had closed as they could not successfully trade in the ongoing difficult economic climate.  However, I remember this shop had been ‘open for business’ for at least two decades. My friend told me that someone who knew the merits, character and history of the shop and shop owner told the shop owner they wanted to give them money to help keep the shop trading, so it would not close and be a loss to the community or indeed to the shop owner.

I said to my friend, “That’s a story for my blog because that’s love intervening. And he said, ‘Yes, I suppose it is’.

My friend concluded the story by telling me that the shopkeeper accepted the money and when the shop returned to a healthy selling situation, they gave all the money back, even though the person who gave it, didn’t want or expect it.

IMG_0343And here is the second story.
I was having lunch with another friend and she told me about an environmental group she belongs to who was given $1,000,000 (one million dollars) by a philanthropist to help their cause. The group was trying to save a beautiful natural site from developers and with the help of this money, it was saved.

That too is love intervening to change the direction of, in this case, many, many lives as the site now remains in a natural state for the use of the wider community. And, of course, it saved the lives of the native flora and fauna which has lived on the site forever.

I think both stories exemplify love. It is not romantic love, it is not love of cake or a football team. It is a love rising from wishing all creatures, big and small, including us, to be well.

There’s nothing quite like a mother’s love

Pink rose

Written by Ruth Howard – founder of The Joy Story

There’s nothing quite like a mother’s love.

On the night of Friday March 6, 2015 just near Salt Lake City in Utah, USA, Lynn Groesbeck, 25, of Springville, was driving home from her parent’s house when, for a reason unknown, she veered off the roadway and into the Spanish Fork River.  The car came to rest upside down, partially submerged, in the river and, as is shown to be true later, Lynn is killed instantly. In the backseat of the car, strapped into her baby capsule, is Lynn’s 18 month old baby girl, Lily. The water rushing into the car is just below Lily’s head.

Because the car could not be seen by the cement barriers on the road, it is another 14 hours before the car is spotted – by a fisherman. Rescuers arrive and begin a routine rescue of the car. Later, the four rescuers tell that they heard desperate pleas for help coming from the woman inside the car, calling out, ‘Help me, help us! and this spurred them on to greatly intensify their efforts.

They find the woman dead. They also find the baby girl, unconscious, strapped into her car seat. She had been hanging upside down for 14 hours as icy water flowed through the car. She had survived without food or water in frigid temperatures. They remove her from the car and she is taken to hospital where she is reunited with her father and reportedly makes a full recovery.

The four rescuers tried to work out how they heard the mother’s voice – yet she had passed away so much earlier. They all heard it. They couldn’t explain it, but they all heard it.

As I said, there’s nothing quite like  a mother’s love.

A little compassion changed a would-be-robber’s life.

IMG_7784Written by Ruth Howard – founder of The Joy Story

One night in a little town on Long Island, New York, a proprietor was closing up his convenience store when a man brandishing a baseball bat burst into the store and demanded money. The store owner, Mohammad, said he would give him the money and pretended to reach into the till, but instead reached for the shotgun he had ready in case someone tried to rob him. The gun was not loaded.

He pointed the gun at the robber’s face and told him to put the baseball bat down and lie on the floor.

At which point the robber started to cry. He said,  “I’m sorry, I have no food. I have no money. My whole family is hungry. Don’t call the police. Don’t shoot me.”

The store owner looked at the robber and heard him crying and pleading and he felt for him.

He said to him, ‘I will let you go if you promise to never rob again’. The robber agreed. Mohammed said, ‘I am going to give you some money and some bread and milk so you can feed your family’.

The robber then blurted out that he wanted to be a Muslim, just like Mohammad. Mohammad was astounded at this revelation. ‘What!’ he said, ‘You want to be a Muslim like me?’. ‘Yes’, said the robber.

So Mohammad said a little prayer and the two men shook hands. Mohammad took $40 from the till and threw it towards the robber, telling him to take a loaf of bread from the counter nearby. When Mohammad turned to get milk for him from the fridge, the robber had picked up the money and a loaf of bread and had fled.

Mohammad alerted the authorities however the robber was never found.

That was in May 2009. In December that year Mohammad received a letter with no return address. Inside was $50 and a note from the would-be-robber to whom Mohammad had showed compassion earlier in May.

The note was typed and I have transcribed it with a few grammatical corrections.

You changed my life
First of all I would like to say that I am sorry. At the time I had no money, no food on my table, no job, and nothing for my family. When you had that gun to my head I was 100% that I was going to die. That was the only reason why I asked you to help me become a muslim. Because you spared my life I decided to become a true muslim. Since then my life has changed. Now I have a new child and good job, make a good money. I am staying out of trouble and taking care of my family. You gave me forty dollars, and a loaf of bread. Here is fifty dollars. Thank you for sparing my life. Because of that you changed my life.

“I’m very happy that somebody got to change his life” Mohammad said.

Mohammad Sohail died in August 2010 aged 48 I think from a heart attack. The compassion he showed to a would-be-robber made headlines in America.