Friday, January 25, 2013

Connected

We live in a busy world.  A busy, busy world.

We are always running from one thing to the next, heads down, eyes glued to our smartphones and ipads and devices too busy to look up for a second to smile at the person passing us.  We are busy making superficial connections on Facebook and are starved for genuine connections in our real lives.

Today I read a post called Touching Souls that Tabor wrote.  It is a great reminder of why we are on this earth to begin with. I was meant to read that post this morning.


It was time to pick Ben up from school and I was running late.  My garage door opener had frozen again and I had to run back to the house to close the garage door making me just late enough to worry that Ben would be the last kid waiting.

As I sped down the street I saw a woman standing on the corner by the bus stop.  I probably wouldn't have even noticed her at all had it not been for her dog.  A sweet-looking yellow lab stood vigilantly by the woman, her fluorescent yellow "Working Dog" vest across her back.  I noticed the dog was holding her paw in the air.  She tried to stand on it for a second, and then picked it up again.  I glanced up at the thermometer on my mirror, 8 degrees.  Her poor paws were probably freezing.

For a second I thought about picking the stranger up and giving her a ride. I glanced at the clock again.  Already two minutes late.  No time for strangers.

I got to Ben's school just as he was leaving the building.  I had an errand to run, but for my own piece of mind I decided to check and make sure the woman and her dog had already caught the bus.  I drove back the way I came and saw the woman and her dog still standing on the corner.  This time I noticed the woman didn't have a hat or gloves.

I started to pull over, glanced at them again, and then pulled away.  What woman is going to take a ride from a stranger?  She won't want a ride from me.  She'll probably be embarrassed, or think I'm crazy.

I went on my way and proceeded on to my errand of getting Tommy's zipper fixed on his coat.  I hurried into the shop, had the zipper fixed, and got back into the car.

"Alrighty, kiddos.  We're on our way home now." I told Ben and Grace, all the while still thinking about the lady and her dog.  I really hoped the bus had stopped by now.  I decided to take one last drive past to see if they were still there.

As I approached the corner I could see the woman and her dog making their way across the busy street to stand on the opposite corner.  They both looked so cold.  This time I stopped thinking.

"Okay, kids.  We're making one last stop!" I announced.

I pulled my minivan over and got out.

"Ma'am?  Are you waiting for the bus?"  I asked her warily.

"Yes, I am.  But I'm not familiar with this area and I don't know if it comes this way."  she answered.

"Can I give you a ride?  It is too cold to be waiting outside for the bus.  I saw you when I was on my way to pick my son up from school and that was quite some time ago."  I told her.

"Yeah.  I've been here for almost an hour.  My feet are so cold."  she said.

"I bet.  I saw your dog lifting her feet up too.  I think she is cold as well.  Please, let me give you a ride." I said again.

"Well, I'm going all the way to the far south side of town."  she warned me.

"That's fine. I really don't mind."  I assured her.

"Okay.  Thank you so much.  I'm really cold."  she said gratefully.

I made room in the front passenger side of my minivan so that she and her dog had enough room.  I got back in and turned the heaters up full blast as she told me her name, Sue, and where she lived.

Sue admitted to me that she really isn't supposed to be crossing busy streets because she can't see the cars coming but that she was not familiar with where the bus would be stopping.  She was very nervous crossing the icy street as she had just fallen on a bad ice patch a few weeks ago.  As she spoke, Bella, her guide dog, sat at Sue's feet with her face resting on Sue's chest.  I asked how long Sue has had Bella and she told me it has been 2 years.  Bella makes a huge difference in Sue's life.  She used to need someone with her everywhere she went.  Now she has Bella, and their bond is undeniable.

As we drove on she told me how challenging winter is for her.  Bella is wonderful but can not point out ice patches and Sue has a hard time getting around.  I asked if she has friends in the area that can give her a ride from time to time.  A few, but they work so it is hard for them.  She has an adult son living with her but he works third shift and sleeps during the day.  I got the impression that she does not want to be a bother.  

As we pulled up to her apartment I got out a piece of paper and wrote down my name and phone number with strict instructions to call me if she found herself without a ride in this hideous cold weather again.  She thanked me many times as she and Bella got out of the car together.

The rest of our ride home was filled with questions from the kids, and explanations from me.
"No, you really shouldn't talk to strangers, but mommy is an adult and I felt that Sue needed help."
"Yes, it was okay for you to talk to Sue because I was right here with you."
"No, I don't think daddy will be mad that mommy gave a stranger a ride."
"Yes, Sue is blind and can't see and that is why she can't drive herself."
"I don't really know how Bella knows where Sue is going but she is a very specially trained dog."
"Yes, Bella is awesome but you're right, Molly is still my favorite dog."

I'm not sure if Sue will call me for a ride in the future but I am thankful that I was able to be there for her and Bella today.  And I'm thankful for Tabor and her beautifully written post that reminded me why we are all here on earth together. We are here to love each other.  That really should be our sole purpose in life.  Just love. Had I not read that this morning my eyes may not have been open to see a need in front of me and an opportunity to show love.

I pray that as a society we all become more connected, more invested in each other. In the meantime, let's start small.  Smile more.  Hold doors.  Make eye contact.  Offer hugs.  Be a listener.  Lend a hand.  Even the smallest act can make a big impact.  Look for opportunities to serve.  To connect.  To love.



I was not going to post this story.  In Matthew 6:3-4 it says that when you do a good deed you should not go around announcing it.  You should do it in secret so that only God knows.  But I am sharing this story because Tabor shared her story.  And because I was able to witness her compassion it reminded me that I need to have my eyes open, and my heart open, as well.  I think that the more we have our eyes open to serve God the more we see God working in our lives and in the world.


39 comments:

That corgi :) said...

So thankful you listened to your heart and helped that lady. I have run across things I thought I should help with and didn't and then second guessed myself so much about it, so I'm glad you just plunged in and helped her. While I do think we need to keep this to ourselves when we do good deeds, I also think we need to tell others too when we go out of our comfort zone to speak to encourage them to do the same, of course provided they aren't putting themselves into any type of danger.

betty

Bijoux said...

I have to tell you, I would have been too afraid. That lady found her guardian angel.

Tabor said...

Ah, yes, the butterfly effect! I am glad to have been a butterfly today.

Lynn said...

Godspeed, dear lady. This was a joy to read.

christopher said...

Good deeds are contagious...and feel good too...way to go.

Kat said...

Bijoux- I know. Most of the time I feel the same way. But this was a blind woman standing with her dog on the corner, so I felt I have less to fear than she did. I was afraid that she would be too scared to take a ride from me. Plus, I tend to trust people who have animals (dogs) with them. Ha! ;)

Olga said...

You did a good thing by helping that woman and her dog and by serving as an example of kindness and compassion for your children.

Cheryl said...

And the lesson your kiddos learned by that nudge in your heart is there forever. Thank you for sharing.
Cheryl

Dawn said...

You were used by God in a beautiful way, and I'm glad that you shared. I got all teary reading this post, in a good way. I know you don't want to boast, and it's not your intent, but when you share stories like this, it encourages others to do the same, so thank you.

Kerry said...

The best lesson ever for your children. They will remember this always.

Kat said...

Olga/Cheryl/Kerry- My kids really did want to talk about it for the rest of the day. It was a big deal to them (and probably a little scary picking up a stranger). The minute my two older boys came home from school Ben and Grace had to tell them that "mom picked up a stranger in our car!" Ha!

Elaine A. said...

You are such a good person, Kat. What a wonderful thing you did for her and her dog. I absolutely LOVED reading this. It made me all warm and fuzzy inside. And you are so right, we need MORE of this in our world today. Thank you. So much.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Thank you so much
for this post.
God Bless You...

kenju said...

Bravo for you!! and bravo to Tabor for showing us the way.

Riahli said...

Oh Kat you made me cry! I agree that this needed to be shared, it's good to get reminders like these about what is really important, thank you.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Good for you to let the Spirit move you! What a blessing to her! I've never ever regretted offering a stranger a ride. I do it regularly, but mostly to women because, you know, safety.

Mrs4444 said...

I get it; I'm glad you posted it. helping someone in that situation is such an easy thing to do but makes a big difference.

Anita said...

Hello Kat, I'm here from Tabor's. What an inspiring story this is! I was rooting for you to please go back and get the lady as I read each detail of your crazy day (which I have a lot of).

I hope to visit your site again. By the way, are the connections on blogs superficial, too? Because I have a lot of them. LOL

Now I have to go back to Tabor's site and read Touching Souls.

Freda said...

I'm glad you went back and offered to help. Isn't it sad that we get so frightened nowadays? I suspect that fear and anxiety can get worse as we get older too. Keep your trust in God and keep sharing God's love. Every Blessing Freda from Dalamory (www.freda.org.uk)

Jill said...

LOVED this ... tears of joy. It made my heart swell. THIS is what it's all about. Doing the right thing. What joy it must have brought for the sweet lady. Her dog. Your kids. And you.

Reminds me that there IS so much good in the world.

ladyfi said...

I'm so glad you posted this story. The world needs more stories like these in order to inspire and spread the love.

Mage said...

Yes, thank you. And is there a handicapped accessible van she can call that will pick her up. Here you can call in advance. Perhaps there is a blind center that gives rides also.

I love Tabor, and I am honored to have one of her photos to hang in my house. So glad you followed her lead and posted this.

CC said...

I am so thankful that you had the courage to do what I usually do not!

Annmarie Pipa said...

I struggle too with worries about bragging...and that is never my intent. the intent is to share in the joy that helping others gives or to just pass to the idea to help others... but now that I read your post I know it is inspiring to read or hear about act of kindness...and it does plant seeds!

Galit Breen said...

That was a beautiful thing that you did, and I'm so very glad that you shared it.

Jeni said...

Thank you for posting this story! It is especially heart-warming to read that you took the time to stop, offer and then drive Sue and Bella to their destination. Playing the Good Samaritan like that has become something really difficult for others who would be willing to offer aid but are fearful of doing that often now because those who could use the little bit of help seem to be doing some slapping at those offering help lately -even to the point of, in some cases, reporting the offers for help to the police or schools or such as the helper then is judged as being a weirdo! Makes a person question what on earth is wrong with society that refuses offers from someone just wanting to be generous or thoughtful and assist others? So glad you were able to do that and that Sue obviously appreciated your helpfulness too! That's the way life should be.

Claire Hegarty B said...

I read Tabors post which took me to your post. How wonderful that her post impacted on your life and your life impacted on Sue and Bellas. I am moved beyond words!

Scriptor Senex said...

I came from Tabor's post. And I'm very glad you decided to post your story. I couldn't agree more with your conclusion as to why we are here. May we all continue to remember it.

Elaine A. said...

Just wanted to let you know that I mentioned this post in my post today... :)

Kat said...

Elaine- Aww. Thank you. And your story is just gorgeous. I'm gonna have to link to it. I think everyone should read it. :)

Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? said...

What a wonderful story to teach your children. I know it was hard for them to understand, but I definitely know that it was the right thing.

We did sometime similar before when we didn't have kids. The guy thought we were totally crazy, but got in the car with us and we saved him from being soaking wet at work.

Mom24 said...

That's really beautiful Kat. Thank you so much for sharing.

Barb said...

A heart warming story, Kat - so glad you shared as a reminder to me to reach out more and help. It was also a strong lesson for your wonderful kids!

Brian Miller said...

smiles...came over from tabors...and glad i did...it is a heart warming story...and i have picked up a few in my day as well...it is scary not knowing them so you have to be wise, but we def need to reach out to each other...we are all in this together...

Friko said...

Thank you for showing me that there are people who care; and not only care, but also act on their kind impulses.

This was a very beautiful tale. I am glad you shared in spite of your misgivings.

Hilary said...

I'm glad you (and Tabor) did share it. I know you're not looking for praise or confirmation.. so I won't.. but I'll think it. ;)

It's good that you shared. We can all do with the reminder.. the open eyes.. the ready hug or ride. Thanks for that.

Evelyn said...

Thank you for sharing this. I have been thinking about where we are as a society lately. When you look at things happening in the world these days it would be easier and perhaps safer to retreat but I think it is more important now especially to create community and reach out to others.

Emmy said...

So so awesome! And so good that you went back. It would be so easy to just assume she made the bus and all was well. What an angel you were at that moment.

Snaggle Tooth said...

Wonderful to be so kind in the cold- Hope she calls you for help again when she really needs it.
Tabor sent me.
I'm famous for being late for work because I always stop to help when I see need.
I think people helping other people is what makes the Earth keep going around...

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson