How Blessed We Are By the Work and Money of Others

Every now and then, a fellow human does something so awesome that it drives us to tears of joy and gratitude. If we take the time to ponder the whole miracle, we see not just the outward act of compassion or vision or courage. We see also some of the miracles done by others –known and unknown — that support the current miracle.

Such a miracle is happening now around Pakvilai Sudhaswin of Oakland, CA and Johnnie Woods of Seattle, WA. Right about now, they should be landing in Baltimore, MD, one step closer to Johnnie’s donation of a healthy kidney to Pak. Kaiser Permanente, Pak’s insurer, will pay the costs of Pak’s care at The Incompatible Kidney Transplant Program at Johns Hopkins.

In reporting this to you, I pray you will add your prayers not just to Pak and Johnnie, but to all others who need healing, and to all who support them. I pray that in seeing some of the many blessings of their story, you appreciate more of the blessings in your own life, and see how you can act more from your own capacity to bless others.

The Richest Blessings of Today and Tomorrow Benefit from the Blessings of Today and Yesterday

No one can pay for Johnnie’s sacrifice of a healthy kidney and whatever it takes to recuperate from the surgery. No one could pay for the priceless innovation and caring that have kept Pak alive so far. In fact, none of us can pay for all the innovation and caring that have gone into creating the best of the world today.

If has often been said that in everything we do, we stand on the shoulders of those who go before us. On the most technical level, the plane that transports Johnnie and Pak stands on the shoulders of over a hundred years of aviation innovation, and thousands of years of dreaming that humans could fly.

The surgery that has been pioneered at Johns Hopkins stands on the shoulders of centuries of medical research and on centuries of teaching and sharing information — including via the Web. The nursing and other care that will return Pak to vital health depends on the wisdom of many fields, from finance to administration to operations management.

All that research and experience have cost a lot of money and time. It’s also cost something priceless, including imagination and heart-felt values that have driven people to give their best to their work, and to keep on innovating without guarantees of success.

It is impossible to count the blessings that return when work is done with love, when money is used for good, and good is done without regard to return.

Several years ago, when Pak needed a biopsy, she was cared for by ultrasound expert Wayne Leonhardt, whose caring heart and sense of humor have led to a lifelong friendship among Wayne, his partner, and Pak. Upon learning that Pak, a dedicated Buddhist, loved Christmas carols, Wayne invited her to his church for a carols service.

Pak fell in love with Unity of Berkeley, which honors the wisdom of all faiths, and began volunteering in the office when she had strength. There she met Johnnie, who worked in the office part-time while studying to be a licensed Unity teacher. Not long after Johnnie learned about Pak’s long struggles with chronic kidney disease, she offered her a kidney and has persisted through the years of roadblocks.

Pak’s faith and meditation practices have been key to dealing constructively with chronic illness, and she has developed mindfulness meditations to help others do the same.  Pak sometimes teaches meditation classes, and she dreams of having the strength to be a stress release counselor for veterans and people with chronic illness.

The Best Role Models for Spirituality and Work Combine Efficiency and Caring

Wayne is a perfect example. The skill and experience he brings to his work attest to years of training and attention to detail. The caring and sense of humor come straight from his heart. Developing his skill and experience have cost him and others a lot of time and money; his caring and humor are priceless and freely given.

What caring and other blessings do you offer through your work? Through the way you spend your money?

Who helps or has helped you become your most caring self?

How are you a blessing to others?

As always, many blessings to you, your work, and your relationships.

Pat McHenry Sullivan

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