Over the long summer, we got introduced to Brandon when we were looking for a tree trimmer. He showed up, and in addition to being damn fine looking and able to do a whole lot of justice to a pair of overalls, he was really good with our trees. 

Since we have a lot of trees, Brandon spent a lot of time around here. We ended up befriending him, and his girlfriend, and I ended up speaking with him a lot about his life and goals and dreams. I encouraged him, coaxed him, reminded him often of his inner goodness. 

Eventually, he and the girlfriend broke up, and the trees were all trimmed, but Brandon kept coming around. I suspect we were a calming influence on him, and a distraction from the troubled road that called.

We shared meals, he helped my husband and I around our property, and before long, my husband got him a job at his company. A good job that didn’t require long hours in the elements and has a lot of opportunity for advancement. 

At Thanksgiving, we received a text from Brandon stating how appreciative he was of us and our influence on his life, and how thankful he was for his new job. Today, I received another text. Brandon has taken in the 18 year-old son of his ex-wife, who was freshly released from juvenile hall and desperate to get his life on track. 

So Brandon, wanting to pay forward the leg up he feels like he got from us, took in a troubled teen, took him shopping, and tonight is taking him to meet some people who might be able to set him up in a good job. He’s paying it forward.

Better yet, my husband and I are also receiving payment. Having lost our relationship with our oldest child, and having wounds that are still raw from that loss, we were able to see the tiny ways in which we can be of service to others. We saw that just maybe we do have something of worth to offer young people. And the way that our service blows downwind, touching others. 

I’m not sharing this story to pat myself on the back. All we did for Brandon was share company and wisdom, a few beers. We did what anyone else would do when confronted with a man with a good heart, a steel work ethic, and a willingness to do better.

I’m sharing this to let each of you know that when you least expect it, you are touching the lives of others. And in turn, they are reaching out, blessing the people in their path. There is a river of miracles that flow from each good act, whether we are ever made aware of its final destination or not. By stepping foot in this river, I believe that somehow, we are all washed clean.