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Unexpected Effect

My middle sister gets married this weekend. As the family trickles in from across the country to celebrate over the coming days, I'm reminded of a sweet encounter we had a few months ago. I hope you're as touched by this experience as I was that day.


My mother was on the hunt for the perfect Mother-of-the-Bride dress. After going to a few places with my sister, they decided to converge in Santa Barbara, hoping a slightly larger city would prove more productive.

Our first stop was disappointing, but the second had an abundance of choice. We made our way to the dressing room and found the handicapped stall the only one open. It worked for us, as we were three with armloads of dresses for my mom to try.

As the fashion show began, there was much laughter. A few lessons we discovered; some dresses are really complicated to put on; shoulder pads should no longer exist; the right undergarments are key.

My mom made her way through each possibility, narrowing down the pile. Half-way through, a knock sounded on the dressing room door.

“You know, I just wanted to say, I have a 90 year old mother,” the woman began through the door. We all jumped to thinking she was in need of the handicapped room and said she was welcome to it, we would happily move.

“No, no, “she continued. “I have three sisters and an older mom, and hearing you all in here, laughing and having fun has touched me so much.”

“Open the door,” my mom motioned.

Photo by Erika Giraud on Unsplash

A woman stood there with tear filled eyes, and mine immediately began to water.

“I really miss my family and these moments, and I just wanted to let you know what a gift it is to have heard you laughing and enjoying each other.”

We all said thank you, and I asked if I could give her a hug. We embraced and I expressed gratitude for her sharing with us. A poignant reminder that even in seemingly private moments, when you’re experiencing unbridled joy and laughter, your emotions may spill over and positively affect another. We are all in this together- this crazy, beautiful journey of human life. When you take the time to witness and appreciate things around you, let strangers know how they’ve brightened your day, or realize how your beautiful experience may touch or inspire another without even intending to, we all feel more connected and fuller of love.


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