Tuesday, November 1, 2016

It's the Little Things...

Cancer sucks.  

We've all read it, heard it, seen it posted on social media.  Today, I celebrate the life of Amy Jane Nadley Lessman.  This superhuman was in my life from freshman year in high school until April of 2014, when the complications from what was essentially cancer of the appendix took her life.  

Today would have been Amy's 55th birthday.  She was a teacher of profoundly disabled children, who impacted the world more in her years on earth than ten ordinary people combined.  She loved love.   She loved being in love. She loved teaching love.   

While we were still in college, she and I were walking around Philadelphia one day when she stopped into McDonald's and bought a large fries, walked out to the street and approached a homeless man.  "Would you like these fries?"  

"Yes, m'aam."  
"Do you have a friend?"
"No, m'aam."
"Come with me."

Amy led the man about 20 feet down the street to another homeless guy, asked his name, introduced them to each other and then turned to the first guy and said, "Share these fries with your new friend.  And watch out for each other.  Cities can be rough."

 I stood with stunned disbelief.  Only Amy would give a lecture on the importance of having somebody's back to total strangers living on the streets of Philadelphia.

It's the Little Things...

It's been a pretty somber week, as cancer seems to be far-reaching and unstoppable.  I've delivered coffee and chocolate in Amy's memory today, and appreciated seeing her smile through the faces of the recipients.  Amy had more friends than most, and there were people all over PA and NJ sharing stories, java, and chocolate, and genuinely trying to make the world a better place.

So on this day -- and I hope every single day I have left here on earth -- I am trying to channel Amy and make the world a little bit happier than it was yesterday.   I am grateful for the friend that I had, and even more grateful for the lessons of happiness and gratitude that I learned from her.  I've made some new friends who were friends of hers as well, and we all have stories that could fill volumes illustrating the difference that one person can make in this world.

All because we had the love of Amy in our lives.