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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Something to Think About...

Miss Ginger tries very hard to be as beauiful on the inside as she is on the outside. It's very hard sometimes, as our world is sometimes not as beautiful as we'd like it to be. But we can make beauty every day, through random acts of kindness.

Nutwood Beth sent me this email forward. I've never gotten an email forward from her before, so I knew it must be pretty special if she had sent it on. It touched me more than you'll ever know, Miss Beth, because it hit pretty close to home one several accounts.

When my oldest brother Arthur was sick and dying, my brothers and I gathered around him to help him finish out his time here on Earth with as much dignity as we could provide. That is what our Mother taught us, and we did it out of love, respect, and duty to our family and ourselves. We felt fortunate that we were able to do this for him, and it was truly an exerience that shaped my adult life.

I've always wondered how people who don't have the strength of family and close friends cope. I certainly think it would be twice as hard to be beautiful on the inside if I had to face the ugly of the world all alone!

The Cab Ride

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I walked to the door and knocked. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.
There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated'.
'Oh, you're such a good boy', she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'
'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly.
'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice'.
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice. 'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.
We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired. Let's go now'.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
'How much do I owe you?' she asked, reaching into her purse.
'Nothing,' I said
'You have to make a living,' she answered.
'There are other passengers,' I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.
I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?

What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.
But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
You won't get any big surprise in 10 days if you send this to ten people. But, you might help make the world a little kinder and more compassionate by sending it on and reminding us that often it is the random acts of kindness that most benefit all of us.
Thank you, my friend...
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

Anyway, my dear Beth, sending me this was your random act of kindness for the day! Now, Miss Ginger will have to make one happen for someone else!


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Glad that the forward meant a lot to you, I will let the person who sent it to us know that it was special for one of our friends :o)

Beth said...

Aww, Miss G, you made me cry. Like I said, I don't usually forward things, but I thought that one was something special. I'm glad it meant something even more special to you.


Jennie said...

That is so beautiful. It never hurts to take time to help someone. And the elderly or infirm truly need visitors! My father is completely incapacitated and terminally ill. His Bible Study group meets every other week, driving many miles to my parents house, just to keep him included. Some of the men have set up regular weekly visits, just so my mom can get out of the house for bit. I cannot tell you how much these men bless my folks. Just a bit of the outside world is wonderful, when you can't go out into it!

alnhouston said...

thank you.

Yasmin said...

I always say what does it cost you to take five minutes out of your day, it might make a difference to someone.


Indigo said...

I love that story. No matter how many times I've read it, still hits home. You never know who's life you may touch unknowingly, or who might touch yours with a simple kindness. (Hugs)Indigo


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