Working to help others is the true meaning of life

Working to help others is the true meaning of life

It was in the early evening on one dark and cold December night when we heard a knock at the front door. We weren’t expecting company, so it was a complete surprise when Dad opened the door and there stood Santa, complete in his red outfit with white fur trim and black boots. And he was carrying a sack of presents.

My siblings — five of us at the time, six in total — and I were excited. We all got an extra present from Santa that year, and it was delivered in person. My parents still to this day do not know who or how Santa ended up at our house, but it was a very kind thing to do. It sure made a difference in my life and is something my family remembers to this day. Nothing beats seeing Santa at your front door.

We always had a good Christmas, present-wise. We were happy, even though we knew that if a family had less kids, it usually resulted in said kids receiving more presents. We knew Santa treated all kids the same but that some parents helped fill in the gap. We didn’t take it personally.

Instead of good things happening to you, it’s always good for the heart to see wonderful things happening for others. Last week I was volunteering at an area theater for a show featuring an entertainer I had never heard of before. His name was Daniel O’Donnell. He is a singer from Ireland. The show had started, and that night I was still at the main entrance waiting for any latecomers.

A car dropped off a woman who needed help getting inside because she was blind. I took her to her seat. It was only a couple rows from the stage. She occasionally can make out some scenes, but not that night. I described what Mr. O’Donnell was wearing — a sparkly jacket that sprinkled flashes of light around the theater — but she could not see him. She held my hand as we talked.

She loved Daniel O’Donnell and watched him on television every week. When her husband was alive, they used to watch his shows together. She asked if there was any way she could meet him in person and shake his hand.

I wasn’t very hopeful on that request. Much of the time performers finish their show and that’s it. I was surprised to learn O’Donnell was planning to go to the lobby after his show and meet his fans.

I probably would have headed home after my shift was done, but now I couldn’t wait to tell our guest that she indeed would get to meet her favorite singer. The woman and her friend had traveled from two states away to see the show. I gave her the good news at the intermission, and we talked the entire time. She held my hand again as we spoke. She was so happy she cried.

Now I couldn’t go home because I really wanted to see my new friend get to meet O’Donnell. When she got to the front of the line, she and O’Donnell spoke, he thanked her for coming to his show, they held hands, hugged, and he kissed her on the cheek. She was thrilled. He even looked across at me and thanked me for coming to his show.

Now I’m a big fan of Daniel O’Donnell. From start to finish, his show lasted three hours, and then he still went out to greet everyone who stayed to meet him. Seeing firsthand his kindness to his fans and the smiles on their faces was incredible.

As we’ve all learned, kindness is not a stranger in Tuscarawas County. We’ve seen much of it lately with the horrible accident involving the Tusky Valley band. That day I had the television on when a Cleveland station cut into its regular programming to broadcast the story. I was feeling sick about the tragedy and praying everyone from the school was safe. Sadly, we all know the outcome.

Social media has been a positive in getting the word out on fundraisers and benefits and giving us all updates. The outpouring of support from all corners of the county and beyond has been amazing, and to see people and organizations immediately jump into action to meet the needs of the band and the families is heartwarming.

Always remember working to help others is the meaning of life. It adds joy to your life and the lives of others. Please keep these community efforts top of mind, help where you can and continue to pray for Tusky Valley.

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