A Feel Good Story for Thanksgiving

Yoga and Life

It’s Thanksgiving, my friend, and I want to share a story with you. This is a story that my friend and former housemate shared with me a couple months ago as he was preparing to move away from Austin so he could be with his partner who’d just been accepted at Harvard for grad school. It touched my heart so much that I knew I would wait to share it with you today. Here goes…

It had been 8 years ago last summer when my nephew called me and asked me if I remembered his friend, Logan, who’d spent a week with us in Del Mar one summer back when they were 15 or so. Of course I did. I’d been the one driving them all around San Diego entertaining them as my sister was taking care of her mother-in-law. He told me Logan had just graduated from the University of Washington and had decided to move to Austin to begin his teaching career. I offered that he could stay with me while he got settled and told him to have him call me and he said that he thought I would need to call him. So I did and Logan wound up being an excellent house-mate for a few years before he bought a house and moved out. I consider him a dear friend.

Logan is a very determined person and as soon as he was settled with a teaching job he went to the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization and volunteered to become a big brother. When he came home and told me what he’d done that day he shared his surprise at being immediately assigned a boy to mentor. He said he’d been on the waiting list in Seattle for years waiting to become a mentor and it never happened. The boy he was assigned to was six years old and had been adopted through the foster care system by a young couple who had not been able to get pregnant themselves. He would be meeting all of them the next weekend.

He and the boy (I will call him John) spent time together on one or two weekends a month and I would hear about their escapades and developments over the years. I remember Logan sharing when he’d learned that John was reading at a remedial level and that it was not surprising considering that there were no books in his home — TV was the pastime of choice. I knew, though he never said anything more about it, that Logan would see to it that John’s grades would turn around quickly.

Fast forward 8 years to a couple months ago, and Logan and I are out to dinner catching up one last time before he was moving away. His house was on the market and he’d be leaving within a month. He almost chose not to move away because it would be so hard for him to leave John at such a formative time in his life. But he knew it would be possible to maintain the relationship even from afar. In fact, with all things considered there could be some advantages for John.

Logan shared with me that few years ago, though John’s mother had been told she would never be able to get pregnant, she did. The doctors said she’d won the lottery. It was, of course, exciting though challenging as they were struggling even with just John. But they managed to pull it off and then lo and behold they won the lottery again! At this point things became very tight financially and they had fallen behind on some bills temporarily and one of those bills was for cable so John had been without internet access.

Meanwhile, the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization has various sponsors and the mentors are always informed of benefits offered by them. One such opportunity was a $100 gift certificate from Academy for back to school supplies for the children. Logan took advantage of this and had a list from John’s mother of items that he needed. So Logan watched as John walked around the store and carefully chose the backpack, shoes, jacket, etc. and as they were standing in line at the checkout counter Logan said, “You know, John, all these items add up to only $49.50 or so and you have a $100 voucher here. It’s not as if you’ll be able to keep whatever of that $100 you don’t spend. It’s just going to go away if you don’t spend it. Are you sure you’re happy with what you have here?” And John said, “It’s $52.34 but do you mean I could get some Nikes?” With that in mind they turned around and went back to the shoe department and Logan watched as John put the pair of $16.99 shoes back on the rack and chose some Nikes instead.

So as Logan was planning his move to Boston he knew that he would get a cell phone for John and simply add him to his phone plan. This way they’d be able to stay in touch and John would also have a hot spot in his home to be able to get on the internet for school work. Knowing how John is very conscientious about how much money he spends, and wanting to allow John to choose whichever phone he wanted, Logan went into the AT&T store before John’s parents were to drop him off to meet him there and asked the store clerk to turnover all the price tags of the phones. There would be no other way that John would be totally free to choose whatever phone he wanted. When the clerk didn’t seem to understand Logan’s request, Logan began turning all the price tags over and it wasn’t long before the clerk started helping him out. John wound up choosing the biggest iPhone and thanked Logan about 20 times throughout the rest of the day. He’d never had a cell phone before.

As Logan was dropping him off and had one last conversation in person with John’s mother before he left he said to her, “You know this is very hard for me to be moving away from John. But he has a phone now and we’ll be able to stay in touch this way. Maybe even more so. Who knows? But I also plan on flying him out to Boston once a year so he can visit us and he’ll be able to see Harvard and Boston…” at which his mother, in an almost confused state said, “Fly? But only people who’ve gone to college fly.” And then her eyes got big and she said, “But, of course, he’s going to college!” At that moment they both remembered how she had said to him in their first meeting when John was only six years old that John would be going to college. She didn’t know how but he would be going to college. Neither she nor her husband nor anyone in either of their families had been to college but she was determined that he would have a college education. Obviously, with the two young ones to care for as well, she had forgotten this.

Logan looked at me and said, “You know damn well that I will make sure he goes to college. He’s in the gifted and talented program and, of course, I’ll be sure he applies for scholarships and grants. But you also know that the proceeds from the sale of my house will be in an account to cover whatever short fall there may be.” I nodded my head, knowing he would have it no other way.

So, my friend, I hoped you’re touched by the story. I know I am. Very few of the mentoring relationships last as long as theirs has. There are only two or three others in Austin that have. But there’s another part to the story that I want to point out.

Did you notice how clear a vision John’s mother had for him back when he was only six? She knew he was going to college. She had no idea how it would happen but she knew he was going. She was bound and determined even before Logan was in the picture. Don’t you find it interesting that Logan, a school teacher who’s just as bound and determined to do his part to inspire and help every student of his become the best that they can be, was assigned as John’s mentor? They were the perfect match.

That is the power of decision and intention. Notice how she’d almost completely forgotten her intention. She didn’t have time, energy, or resources to direct towards John. But it didn’t matter. The Universe delivered, and in the best way possible.

And it will do the same for your dream, my friend. You just have to be as clear and determined as she was. Have faith. The Universe really does want you to have exactly what you want to have.