Thought For The Day 08/30/12


Woodwork Angels



Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does. 

William James


I once read a story that is as fresh in my mind today as it was the day I read it for the first time. My memory of the tale was not because it was exactly an earth shattering and memorable story, but because to an extent, it mirrored my life,  when I was young and newly married and struggling. It was called “The Woodwork Angel”. It is a true story.


There was once a young person who was struggling to pay for a college education with no assistance from family when suddenly, calamity strikes in the form of a bad toothache. Needing dental work, but having no money to pay for the care, the student finds a clinic near campus, and makes an appointment. Now the dentist tells the student that his mouth is in bad shape (surprise, surprise) and he requires extensive treatment. The student begins to rise from the chair, eyes filling with tears, convinced he was going to be turned away. Instead, the dentist urges him to sit and he talks and asks the young man what is wrong. Pouring out his story to the kind man, the dentist looks into reddened eyes and asks the student if he plans on graduating from college. The student, of course, answers yes. And looking the young man in the eye, the dentist says, when you get a job after you graduate, you can pay me back! For many weeks he performs dental care on the student. And true to his promise, after graduating and securing a job, the young man repays the loan in full.


My story was not so different. A student who had married before graduating from college, even though my tuition was paid by my family, my husband and I still needed to maintain a home and cover expenses. Unfortunately, upon returning from our honeymoon, we discovered that Dan had been laid off from his job with New York City in the fiscal crisis that struck the city in 1975. He was unable to find work and I was struggling to work full-time and attend my last year of college classes full-time. And then one day, I too developed a toothache. I had suffered for a number of days when one of my professors saw my distress and asked what was wrong. Tears in my eyes, I told her that I needed dental care and could not afford it. She asked me if I planned to continue working after I graduated and my answer was yes. And she told me she would loan me the money to pay for my care and I was to pay her back after I graduated and had been able to secure a better job in my chosen field. And like the young man in the story, I kept my word to this generous woman!


I did not understand the title for the story whose words mirrored my own life until they were explained to me by the author but then I found it all making perfect sense. You see, a “woodwork angel” refers to someone who is part of the circle of people we interact with but whose importance is not really seen or felt. Like the woodwork in a home, we know it’s there. It may be beautiful but it seems insignificant in the general scheme of things relating to how we live our lives. And then something disastrous happens and we suddenly find ourselves not knowing which way to turn. And just as suddenly, these angels enter our lives and their generosity of spirit and kindness of heart serves to forever change the way we see the world and the people in it. Yes, I paid my angel back but even more than that, I determined that I would try to make a difference in the life of another lost and struggling someone, if ever the opportunity presented itself. And true to the promise I made to myself all those years ago, I had the opportunity of paying her generosity forward by helping a young person who was a family acquaintance, get on her feet after she found herself being abused at home.


Do you remember the story related in John chapter 13 about Jesus humbling himself by washing the dust from the feet of his Disciples? Despite their protestations, he washes and dries each pair of feet, and tells them that they may not understand why he is doing this now but they will! The answer comes in John 13: 12-15  which tells us  12) When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13)“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14)Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  15)I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Just as Jesus showed kindness of heart and generosity of spirit as he washed dirty feet, so must we also render acts of kindness and service on behalf of others! It is what out Heavenly Father expects from us and I think it is the least we can do for all of the blessings He has bestowed upon us! Like a snowball rolling down a hill, you may never know the magnitude of what you will have started by paying your own blessings forward, but I guarantee that it might just be enough to change the world for someone else!


 28) Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Matthew 20:28 NIV


Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

About Mandy Bruscella

Mandy's Story: As a Registered Professional Nurse with Certification in a number of specialties including home care, I was afforded the opportunity of working closely with various Social Service Agencies in NY and NJ. ~ A lifelong Christian, I was ordained as a Presbyterian deacon in 1993 and, after relocating to SC in 2000, elected to become ordained as a non-denominational minister. ~ I established "MandysPath" Ministry in 2011. "MandysPath" Ministry is a member of Pacific Life Church, El Sobrante, CA, network of ministries. ~ I direct an outreach ministry in an alternative setting, providing spiritual care to a congregation of more than 500 people from around the world via the Internet. ~ As part of this outreach, I write a daily faith based blog. In March, 2012 I was asked to become a board member of Heroes For Children which is a non-profit foundation, established to assists the Guardian ad Litem program of Horry County, SC. Guardians ad Litem are a group of court appointed advocates who represent the best interests of children in Family Court proceedings involving allegations of abuse or neglect. Working closely with these men and women who make a difference in the lives of children, I completed training and have been sworn in to serve as a Guardian ad Litem for the state of South Carolina . ~ I have been married since 1975 to a wonderful man, Daniel. I have a son Daniel and his wife Melissa who live in NYC. My daughter Sabrina and my grandson Landon live here in SC. ~ My father Harold continues to share his wisdom with me and is responsible for many of the ideas I write about!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s