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A Little Hope: Pay It Forward

Shannon is a passionate individual whose feelings and thoughts tend spill onto the pages, often in the form of poetry and sometimes essays.


Melancholy and Inspiration

Have you ever felt melancholy for seemingly no reason whatsoever? It hit me hard this evening out of the blue. I went from a rather productive day to watching The Same Kind of Different as Me all alone. Unless you count the big German Shepherd snuggled on the couch beside me. She tried to shove me off the couch so she could spread out, but it wasn’t a lack of sympathy from the dog that put me in such a strange mood.

The Same Kind of Different as Me is a true story about a married couple named Ron and Debbie Hall. Thanks to a dream Debbie had, they befriended homeless man Denver Moore, who didn’t even know he wanted friends. Denver's dark past left him filled with a lot of anger that kept him detached from others. Ron and Debbie saw beyond that in order to get to know his kind heart. In turn, he had to learn how to trust the couple enough to let them be his friends. It’s an inspiring story about what love can do to change a person’s entire existence for the better. However, it also becomes a sad story when tragedy strikes, claiming the life of one of the most kind-hearted souls ever to walk this earth. Nonetheless, hope remains as the two men go on to use their story for the greater good, raising money to support organizations that help homeless individuals. Their story and their effort impacted an entire city before spreading nationwide.

I suppose it would be easy for anyone to fall into a similar mood after watching a movie such as this, but my mood is one that is hard to explain. It is more pensive and bittersweet. This movie made me contemplate all of the reasons I believe so strongly in forgiveness, reconciliation, and second chances. Also, it made me think about personal friendships from both the past and the present. Some of them didn’t last because life simply took us on different paths and some that ended in spectacular flames. Yet I know that I am not alone in these sentiments. A lifelong friend I’ve known since at least kindergarten years posted a status message on Facebook that I immediately connected with. Perhaps it’s just a universal truth about love and loss.

Quote From My Friend Used with Permission. . .

“I was thinking this morning about how in at least a couple cases I grieved the loss of friendships for ever so much longer than they even existed in the first place.

I mean, grief does what it wants to do, and you can't rush it, but I'm glad that in most of those cases, I've processed what I need to process and learned what I could.

And then, suddenly it occurred to me this morning that I have long term friends just even in Seattle that have lasted longer than those relationships and the grieving of them, and I still think of them as "new friends"

You're all old friends now! And good friends! But mostly, you're all old friends! Who knew?"

See the Best

My intention is not to drag anyone down. Instead, I’d like to remind everyone that there’s always a bright side. Together, Ron and Denver accomplished unimaginable things. Perhaps we should strive to see the best in those around us. Who knows what unlikely and miraculous things will be accomplished. The world can be made that much better, if only for a little while.

Perhaps This Obituary Says It Best

What love can do. . .

“The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. There will most likely be no ticker-tape parades for us, no monuments created in our honor. But that does not lessen our possible impact, for there are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have a potential to turn a life around. It’s overwhelming to consider the continuous opportunities there are to make our love felt.”

― Leo Buscaglia


© 2019 Shannon Henry


Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on October 22, 2019:

Hi Denise,

Sometimes we find friends in the most unexpected places. And sometimes those unexpected friends are not as different as they may seem when they allow one another to challenge and teach them different perspectives. There's growth and bonding. It's a miracle, perhaps.

That book you mention sounds interesting. I'll have to look it up. It fits well with this book (and movie) since it is about homelessness and a reminder that these people are human.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 22, 2019:

This is truly important info about the impact we make on people we meet every day. Everyone is going through something. I just finished a book called A Street Cat Named Bob; And How He Saved My Life. It's about a guy who was homeless for a time and was trying to get his life back on track and get off the drugs when he met this street cat who was injured and hungry. I think they saved each other. It's really transforming in the way it makes you rethink homeless people. Thanks for the reminders.



Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on August 03, 2019:

Thanks, Patricia. I'm glad that you enjoyed this hub. I'm not at all surprised that one of yours relays a similar message as this one. I think that as long as I've followed you and seen you around HP, you've been spreading love with your angels.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on August 03, 2019:

I definitely agree that we underestimate the power of simple gestures toward others. Sometimes workers in stores must feel invisible....one of my hubs says a lot of what you have shared This is a thought-provoking hub.

Angels are headed your way this evening ps

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on April 19, 2019:

Thank you, Lawrence. I do believe that even the small things can make a huge difference in at least one person's life. It's an amazing bonus when the ripple effect is as great as the one caused by the Hall's.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on April 19, 2019:


Reading this hub made me realise that even the small things we do really do change the world!

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on April 16, 2019:

Well, that makes two of us. I know damned well that l replied to you. But hell if I know what I said now. I knew you would like their story, though. And thank you.

Oh, I said I miss the old method too. Especially the share button for HP. I found many people I wanted to follow through articles others liked and shared in the feed.

Suzie from Carson City on April 10, 2019:

I know damned-well I read this. I remember it well. I even have the note I wrote myself to look for the book and/or movie about the Hall's.....Yes, very powerful story and you wrote the article in the perfect way to arouse interest, peak curiosity and encourage your readers to look deeper....just as I did.

Well this makes the third time this month, I thought I had left a comment, but Oops!.....

You're right, I'm not around anywhere near as often as I'd like. Hoping to change that soon. I fee a resurgence of my lazy muse!!!

Voted UP! (I miss our old voting method!) and also the capability to share....damn it! Peace, Paula

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on April 03, 2019:

Thanks, Li-Jen! I do appreciate you stopping by for a read. So glad you were able to find inspiration in it.

Li-Jen Hew on April 03, 2019:

Hello Shanon, good of you to bring up differences and how those differences bring us together. The homeless man and the couple became united. I like how you take your friend's status and the last quote by Leo to inspire. Thanks for the inspiration.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on March 14, 2019:

Oh no, Nell, that's so sad. I hope it's not an abusive situation and that he hasn't forced her to shut out all of her family and friends.

Nell Rose from England on March 14, 2019:

I totally agree. My other friend went and married a horrible man. My words and her sisters! And I haven't seen her since. we used to go on vacation to Greece, Tenerife, Majorca and others, but the second she got with him he told her I was a 'bad influence'.......no words!

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on March 13, 2019:

I'm sorry to hear that, Nell. One is bad enough, but two around the same time is even harder. For me, if it's not an actual death, it's almost as if someone has died still. Probably because I don't hold on to the grudges that would make it so much easier. This world has enough anger and hatred, though, without me having to add to it. People come and go, but the ones who truly touch a heart are going to be grieved no matter how the loss happens.

Nell Rose from England on March 13, 2019:

I lost two friends recently, and I stepped back from going out, turning inwards to my work. it hurt too much. but yes sometimes all we need is one person to bring us back out.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on March 02, 2019:

Thank you Brenda. I appreciate that.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on March 01, 2019:

Very good essay. You have touched upon the heart.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on February 28, 2019:

Believe it or not, Eric, that quote was written a few months ago around about the time I started this article probably. Not that it matters, I'm all for getting on with today. Way too much to do and running out of time. Thanks for coming back by. I appreciate your visits.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on February 28, 2019:

Young lady I came back "I mean, grief does what it wants to do, and you can't rush it, but I'm glad that in most of those cases, I've processed what I need to process and learned what I could."

Your quote from a friend.

Now lets go get today!!

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on February 28, 2019:

Hello Pam. I thought that picture was cute. Glad you like it.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on February 28, 2019:

I believe there is a bright side to most every situation, no matter how difficult the situation. I liked that last diagram as it spelled out precisely how you should treat a friend.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on February 27, 2019:

Thank you, Flourish. I hadn't been close to her for several years now, but it's one of those situations where you think about people you are fond of and you think about reaching out more often and then it's too late. So I'm glad for the memories.

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 27, 2019:

There is always a bright side. Sometimes you just need someone to point it out to you. Friends can often do that. I'm sorry about the recent loss of your friend.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on February 27, 2019:

Hi Audrey. So sorry to hear about the loss of your son. Cancer is a beast. It runs rampant in my family. And I sympathize with you for having to go through that.

Another thing on my mind lately regarding friends is the loss of a good friend from college. She passed suddenly a week or so ago, shocking many of us. We'd been recalling fond memories of her. For me, I recall being extremely irritated one night because Sarah and another friend were being so loud in the dorm hallway after midnight. I had a test or something the next day. Eventually, I got so fed up that I opened my door and snapped at them both. Something about being totally inconsiderate and made no secret about how irritated I was. I offended my other friend, but Sarah, after recovering from her dumbfounded expression just grinned and started laughing. I stalked off to the elevator, trying to still be mad. I couldn't though. She caught me smiling as the doors closed. I don't even remember what I went downstairs for. Must've been something in the common kitchen since I was already awake. But that's who she was. Someone who saw the best in people and who preferred to spread joy and happiness.

What gets my heart now is that her mother mentioned getting a phone call just before she passed, asking for help. She said she needed to talk to her mother and that she loved her. Sounded as if she was already gone before her mom could get to the hospital. I don't know if a call like that is a blessing or something that will haunt her. It's nice to know that she also mentioned having her friends and extended family to rely on.

Anyway, I hope that you do get a chance to see the movie. I think you'll like it. Renee Zellweger plays the part of Debbie Hall. It was different from most of the roles I'm used to seeing her in.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on February 27, 2019:

I'm much too sensitive for my own good, Dora. LOL. Thank you so much for your kind words.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on February 27, 2019:

Friends are terrific and have provided support when being faced with tough times (such as losing my beautiful son to cancer.) But, in the long run, I, alone, am responsible for some of the challenging situations I get myself into, and it's up to me to deal with it all.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm looking forward to doing so. Thanks for your message here. I really like it!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 27, 2019:

Great message poured forth from a sensitive heart. This beautiful writing, the likes of which benefits everyone when it is shared. Good job!

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on February 27, 2019:

Thanks, Eric. What a nice thing to say. Yes, I do learn quite a bit from other people. I have also found that some of the best people to learn from are those who have learned from others.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on February 27, 2019:

Beautiful. I have known you for years now. What a treasure you are. Understanding is the path to freedom.Sometimes understanding ourselves is the hardest journey. You seem to learn from others. And of course you give it forward.This old feller learns from you.

Our most important job each day is to touch others in a good way. You done good girl.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on February 27, 2019:

Bill, I know for a certain that you do instill hope in others through your writing.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on February 27, 2019:

Hi Mary. It's wonderful to have friends like that. I'm so glad you have those kinds of bonds and that you are continuing to nurture them.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on February 27, 2019:

It's such a beautiful song! Even more so now that I know the story behind the song. Talk about a tear-jerking story about forgiveness. I haven't heard anything about 'Run the Race', but I'll look it up.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 27, 2019:

You just made me think about my friends. I am now in Florida to visit several of them especially the ones I have shared life with. Since I lost my husband, my friends had all been there for me. I am grateful for those who have encouraged the friendships and nurtured it.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 27, 2019:

How about a lot of hope, pay it forward? I love life. I just wish I could instill that in others, Shannon! I've seen hopelessness and it holds no attraction for me today.

A B Williams from Central Florida on February 27, 2019:

I have not seen the movie, but now I want to and I want to see, 'I Can Only Imagine'....I've always loved the song, it never gets old!

I am also hearing good things about the new movie by Tim Tebow and his brother, 'Run the Race'.

Lord knows there is enough doom and gloom out there, we could all use a little inspiration.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on February 27, 2019:

Hi John. Yes, the fact that it is a true story definitely added to it. Especially since I wouldn't say it was a movie full of the best performances I've ever seen by actors. But. . .something else that adds to it is the fact that Halls are from Ft. Worth. I thought about the times I've driven down one street, in particular, that is lined with homeless. It's quite a heartbreaking site to me. I wonder how they got there and what, if anything, they are doing to get off the streets.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on February 27, 2019:

Shannon, you can tell a great movie by the way they affect you. Obviously, this one touched something inside of you...being a true story would have added to that. Thank you for sharing this inspiring story.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on February 27, 2019:

A lot to think about? I had a lot on my mind that night. I actually had this hub sitting around for several months. I didn't necessarily wait for any particular reason to publish it. In fact, I forgot about it until something reminded me of it last night, so I finished tweaking it. You're right that sometimes the bright side needs to be sought.

Have you seen this movie, though? If you're a sucker for true stories like that like I am, you'll enjoy this one. Another one I've seen lately is I Can Only Imagine, which is another story about redemption and God's love. I'd like to see Miracles From Heaven, but I haven't seen that one yet.

A B Williams from Central Florida on February 27, 2019:

There is a lot to think about here Shannon.

There is ALWAYS a bright side, sometimes we just have to seek it out.

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