We Rise by Lifting Others…


Dear Reader:

“We rise by lifting others…We grow by caring for others.”

Haven’t we all been in situations that leave us deflated and at a loss to find any blessings in the situation?

Sometimes, I think that is when God performs His greatest “magical tricks”!

This true anecdote from the book (Trading Your Worry for Wonder) reminds us that, sometimes, in our greatest loss of faith God reveals Who He really is and what He is capable of doing. Magic!

“Do You Love Me, Do You Not? You Told Me Once , But I Forgot?”

The story centers around a young family who had just made a difficult move to a new town and were trying to get their home ready for Christmas, especially since  the children’s grandparents were coming.

Justin was so excited about seeing his grandparents again! His mom knit new stockings for him and his brother Christopher. The tree was up  and decorated… the stockings were “hung by the chimney with care”…everything looked like ‘it was on go.

And then-just two days before Christmas…Justin suffered a severe asthma attack. He was rushed to Saint John’s hospital. His regular doctor was out of town so he was treated in the emergency room…being stuck several times before the nurses could get an IV in him…and then he was put in an oxygen tent.

By Christmas Eve, however, Justin seemed much improved and the nurses assured her that the vast majority of the children would get to go home…but it didn’t turn out that way for Justin. She was told by the doctor (assigned to him) that her son still needed to be on IV fluids…it was too soon to send him home.

The family assured her that whenever Justin got home…that was when they would celebrate Christmas… her husband had to stay home with little Christopher… so a long, dreary Christmas Eve night with a sad little boy loomed ahead.

After Justin’s dinner tray had been removed…a man brightly dressed as Santa came bounding down the hall calling, “Merry Christmas!”

He stopped in Justin’s room and delivered a cowboy hat, just his size. Moments later two little Camp Fire girls brought in a handmade white mitten ornament, decorated with holly and gave it to him. Hardly had they left than a family of Mexican-American carolers arrived. Dressed in native costumes they sang “Silent Night’ and “Joy to the World.”

Finally a  tall, massive young man appeared in the doorway…a University of Oklahoma football player in his jersey, who sat on Justin’s bed and began talking with him. Justin, an avid football fan, was speechless that a “real live” football hero had come to see just him.

Justin was even more amazed when the burly athlete produced a surprise gift for him.

“A cowboy rifle and spurs!” Justin exclaimed, “They go with my hat!”

“I think God plans things that way, don’t you?”responded the athlete with a wink and hug before leaving. Justin’s mom knew the “coincidence” was expertly planned…it took her breath away.

Early on Christmas morning, a tall, thin man in worn clothing quietly entered the room. Without a word, he took out an old flute and began to play a lovely Christmas medley. It was the most beautiful music Justin and his mom had ever heard.

Finishing this serenade he handed Justin a small cup filled with tiny red candies…and then, with a smile, he slipped out the door. Justin’s mom realized that there had been a Santa Claus and then there had been a Santa Claus.

Later that day she asked the nurse on duty about the Santa from the night before…did some community club sponsor him and how did he know the sizes for all the children?

The nurse motioned her out in the hall and explained:

“Several years ago a couple’s only daughter (who was three years old) died in this ward on Christmas Eve. Now each Christmas the parents find out the exact size of each child and have the gifts delivered by “Santa” so they can remain anonymous. They understand what it’s like to be here at Christmas.”

Justin’s mom slowly but clearly, began to realize that none of the people who had shared their love and gifts with them and others even knew anyone’s name. They had done nothing to earn or deserve the gifts given from the hearts of these every day angels.

That special Christmas would always remain in both mother and son’s memory…when a lonely hospital with its noisy bustle and antiseptic smells, became a place of God’s healing love. Away from family, friends, and a baby son, without a Christmas tree or tradition… Christmas came anyway.


God had delivered His special gift. God loved them and for the first time in many years mom finally understood the true meaning of Christmas…she was loved. It was Christmas “Magic.”


So until tomorrow…Keep us open to God’s love…an endless love beyond our mere mortal ability to comprehend its intensity….

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

  • I loved watching the sunlight play in the garden yesterday morning….









Mike Burrell stopped by yesterday and delivered a gift from Honey. Excuse me….gifts. Mountain tomatoes (yum!) hand-made name plates and beautiful colored glass to catch the rays of the sun – called Hope on the Blue Ridge. ( Love the white dove set against the tranquil mountains)

Oh…how I love my Honey Burrell…they broke the mold with her….there will never be anyone like her!

Now I have a memento to remind me where my hope lives…in a little chapel in the Blue Ridge Mountains…





We all know that bears love honey (like Winnie the Pooh) but this black bear seemed to, also like  our Honey. She was driving along and something caught her eye…a big black bear in the fields parallel to the car….she stopped and took this picture (from afar)


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to We Rise by Lifting Others…

  1. Jo Dufford says:

    What a beautiful story! I think it is amazing how some people use their pain to help others, like your blog for instance. Because Peg Lahmeyer’s mother had alzheimer’s disease, Peg organized the ARC (Alzheimer’s Respite Care) at St. Luke’s, and now, she has reached out to other communities and organized more units. There are so many ways people “Rise by Helping Others”. In the picture Honey sent, the light pole looks like a wooden cross in a beautiful setting. (Maybe it is another of God’s winks?) It surely was a perfect way to close your message today.


  2. Becky Dingle says:

    You are right Jo…the electric pole does look like a cross in the field…and one of God’s creatures in it….people are amazing how they can turn tragedy into triumph! So good to hear from you.


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