Thought For The Day 08/14/13


The Woodwork Angel


woodwork angel


“My piece of bread only belongs to me when I know that everyone else has a share, and that no one starves while I eat.”

Leo Tolstoy


Today’s “THOUGHT” was originally published August 30, 2012 and relates a story that I once read, that I recall in vivid detail because it could have been written about my life when I was young and newly married and struggling, like so many others who are thrust out into the real world with all of those real world responsibilities, for the first time. This story called “The Woodwork Angel” which is a true story, mirrored events that happened in my life, in early in 1976.


There was once a young man 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. The young man found himself pouring out his story to this kind man. The tale told, 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! And so, 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. I was a student who had married before graduating from college, and even though my senior year college tuition was paid by my parents, my husband and I still needed to maintain a home and cover expenses, which included commuting from New Jersey into New York, to work and to attend school. Unfortunately, upon returning from our honeymoon, we discovered that Dan had been furloughed from his job with New York City in the fiscal crisis that struck the city in 1975. Dan was unable to find work since few people wanted to hire someone who was laid off, because they knew that he would be returning to his city job, once they began calling back workers. And I was struggling as I was both working and attending my senior 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 because we see it every day. And yes, it may be beautiful, but it plays a minor role in the general scheme of 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 now why he is doing this, but before long, the rest of the story is revealed, and the answer becomes crystal clear! 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 lowered himself down to the floor to wash 12 pair of dirty feet, so must we also render acts of kindness and service on behalf of others! It is what our 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!


As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV


Copyright © 2011-2013 “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!

3 responses »

  1. so many times we only see the polished outside of people and not what they went through to get where they are
    thank you for sharing your story Mandy
    i always thought alot of you and Dan but then because i have always struggled to provide for me and my children i did not think myself worthy to be in the same circle as you two
    but God is faithful and my children are grown and thriving
    since i have come back to living the way God wants me to live he has kept me and blessed me
    one of the blessings has been to put good,positive, and loving folks in my life and i thank him for that
    may God bless and keep you and your family all of your days
    Connie Barrett

    • Connie, Dan and I are by no means above anyone. We are blessed to count among our friends all colors, sizes, socio-economic levels, faiths and we would have it no other way. I count myself lucky to have a few faithful supporters of the things I write and I am humbled by your support! THANK YOU!

  2. Pingback: Thought For The Day 11/09/13 | MandysPath

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