October 25, 2020


One of the common disciplines in Lent is the practice of generosity through giving to others.

Patricia and Mark have found a way to do that out of their deep sorrow, and I have been inspired by them. Though their little Josie lived only 18 days, their lives were forever changed by her presence. This year, to mark the one-year anniversary of her short life and as tribute to their daughter, they have encouraged us to participate in a project of giving and paying it forward for 18 days. They had packets of these cards made up and gave them to those of us who want to join them in expressing Josie’s impact through small acts of kindness and giving.

One of the ways I can honor Josie is through telling her story to you, along with the remarkable story of a loving mom and dad whose broken hearts have turned to love for solace and meaning out of an excruciating experience of loss.

Today, if your heart has been touched by Josie’s story and the faithful response of Patricia and Mark, I urge you to do an act of kindness for someone else. You don’t need to pass along a card, but if you have the chance, you might mention Josie’s story and encourage them to pass the love along to someone else.


  1. These parents are amazing!

  2. I’ve found Lent to be that for me–a time to do be extra conscious of being generous with what I have with others. Not even my husband knows what I do. This is, in its own way, a type of sacrifice, and along with giving something up, Lent becomes very a ‘others’ focused time for me.
    Thanks for sharing this story and their giving this to others.
    Again, why I like this site so much!

  3. Wow. Amazing testimony of people turning something horrible into a little ray of light.

    Eighteen days of giving and paying it forward. Good challenge.

    • And to up the challenge…

      If anyone else is like me, it’s easier to pay it forward with strangers and friends than it is with your own family. So the additional challenge I will give myself is to give and pay it forward with my wife, my daughter and my dad.

  4. Heather Angus says

    Heartbreaking and inspiring.

    I will try following the suggestion of Patricia and Mark for 18 days, with the additional guidance of a pamphlet from the 12-step programs: “Just for today, I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out. (If anyone finds out, it doesn’t count.)

  5. Not cursing the darkness, lighting a candle instead…

    • Nice. I passed this card on to my FB friends. We went through something similar, although our little girl didn’t make it past delivery (“still-born” 35 years ago). So we can feel a tug and a bit of their pain.