“The more we give, the lighter our journey becomes” – Michael Morse

by Michael Morse

“What have you been up to?” I asked my friend (and co-worker), Stephanie. She was beaming, energized, and a bit dusty.

“We just finished a fall clean-up for the nicest couple,” she said, her smile lighting up the Outside Lawn and Garden section.

“Ninety-seven years old, he was in World War II. Air Corps, I think.”

I immediately remembered thanking a man and shaking his hand a few days ago in the store, after noticing the Iwo Jima cap on his head. Ninety-seven…Air Corps…

“Was he at Iwo Jima?” I asked Steph, never once questioning if a twenty-five-year-old “kid” would know. She is just one of those people who pays attention.

“He was,” she replied, curiously.

“He was in here the other day, buying leaf bags,” I said.

“That’s the guy!”

I have no idea how a crew of people from Lowe’s ended up coming together to rake the leaves from the lawn of one of our customers, but I was not at all surprised. I’ve met some mighty fine people since I started working here, part time, last year.

I thought of how fortunate I was to be part of the fire service for twenty-five years and was actually compensated for doing nice things for people, and other people respected my position.

“l think I could do more of this,” said Stephanie.

I knew exactly how she felt. Few feelings will ever compare to the satisfaction derived from helping an appreciative person who never expected kindness to come their way. It is truly beautiful, contagious and inspiring.

I believe that the more we take from this existence the heavier our load in life, while the more we give the lighter our journey becomes.

I went back to work when Stephanie left the store to enjoy the rest of her day off, feeling lighter than I had in quite some time.

Michael Morse spent 23 years as a firefighter/EMT with the Providence Fire Department before retiring in 2013 as Captain, Rescue Co. 5. He is an author of several books, most offering fellow firefighter/EMTs and the general population alike a poignant glimpse into one person’s journey through life, work and hope for the future. He is a Warwick resident.