Oh, I am so thankful and feeling extremely blessed today and not that I don’t every day. But yesterday at 3:42pm EST, I received a very special call. I was so very exhausted sitting on the sofa in my den dozing off, after an extremely busy night with NO sleep from
8:30 pm-10:00am! The only time that I can ever recall doing something like that was while I was in college, cramming for a test or to finish a paper, which I was pretty good at doing in THOSE days, hum – many years ago! I didn’t even know what day it was, AND THEN the phone rings. I saw the area code and knew if was either my brother or about him. I answered and he sounded just a little sad at first. So I am thinking “what can I do to cheer him up,” after sort of struggling through the conversation and not wanting to end the call without some laughter and to know that he was and would be ok. Then out of nowhere my brother asked, “How is Mr. Barnoff?” That was it! I said “you know I have not spoken with him in a while, but lets call him now.” He said, “wow that would be great!” Mr. Barnoff was very instrumental in my brother’s early years as he was developing into a talented classical musician, he is 88 years old now. They met at THE MUSIC SETTLEMENT. He influenced and challenged him to be the best he could be with his music, he inspired Nathaniel to attend Juilliard. He never suggested that he go there, but because Mr. Barnoff was once a student of that infamous institution of great music my brother began to see himself being there. Mr. Barnoff has two numbers and I am never exactly sure of where he will be, he has a warm weather residence and then there is Cleveland. Yes, it was cold in Ohio yesterday but I called there first, silly me. Then I called the warm weather location. Mr. Barnoff answered and sounded AMAZING! I knew he had been a little ill and I have to be honest, since I had not spoken with him I was nervous. After all this was a call that I hoped would bring joy to the both of them.
When Mr. Barnoff realized Nathaniel was on the line he perked up and began to mention how excited he was to “hear from him!” He complimented me for “continuously being support for my brother,” and then I had to say without hesitation, “Mr. Barnoff, thank you for always making an effort for many years to help Nathaniel and my Mom, through so many challenges. I can never repay, but I can always say, thank you.” He replied with a modest response, as he always does and then said to my brother, “You are very fortunate to have a sister like Jennifer.” I then had to let Mr. Barnoff know, “I am the fortunate one, Mr. Barnoff to have a brother like Nathaniel. He is the most courageous man I know and he truly inspires me.” My brother got a little emotional and said “really, thank you!” Being able to, in that moment say again, “YES, you really inspire me!” changed the whole tone and even though the three of us were in 3 different places the air was the same. GRATITUDE AND LOVE, for each other.
Nathaniel’s call lifted me and gave me energy I didn’t think I had, connecting Mr. Barnoff to the call gave him a lift and I am so happy that he came out of his sadness and it seemed as though he felt so full and thankful. It was amazing.
Nathaniel asked for some CD’s and batteries, which I will be sending very soon. Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross and Frank Sinatra! What an eclectic musical guy! Gotta love him!
I love this story! How encouraging to be able to make that connection with a friend from the past who had been so influential in Nathaniel’s life. I’m sure it gave Nathaniel much joy to talk to him and to hear you say that HE is the one who inspires you. Yes, we have no idea what Nathaniel goes through and I admire him greatly.
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Thank you Claire, Yes it is awesome to have that connection to someone who has always meant so much to Nathaniel and who loves Nathaniel so much. He is 88 years old now and I pray that some how he and my brother can enjoy each others company soon. Thank you again.
I was reminded in a recent family group at our mental health center when a client was appreciative of a note that said thank you for being a part of this group and we appreciate your input. It reminded me that a simple expression of gratitude can mean so much to someone who perhaps doesn’t hear that very much.
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It’s always “the little things” we often take for granted. Maybe we should start a “THANK YOU NOTE” Campaign!