Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Walk of Good Deeds

My family has been hit by a series of medical struggles, three times in the past two months. It's enough to say "WTF?" And, I have frequently. Yesterday, the only thing I could think to do was go for a long walk, which, for me, is the equivalent of being alone with my thoughts--away from Facebook, Twitter, and all of the tasks offline and online that require my time.

Walking/Running is an important part of my life. It was largely the impetus for buying a condo on Kansas City's Plaza--I have my coffee shops, a great library, bars, a Barnes & Noble, and a number of restaurants to choose from. So, I stepped out on my walk as I normally do, with a jaunt through the Plaza's streets.

Snow ShovelImage by boumanm via FlickrWhen I made my way up 47th toward the West Plaza, I young woman was trying to dig her car out of the snow. The plows had done a nice job of burying it and she wasn't clad for the effort--without gloves and boots and a coat. So, I offered to help. She looked at me quizzically and replied, "Seriously?" I nodded to confirm my intent. She said, "OK!" and I took to the task. We made small talk while I shoveled. I passed along the wisdom of using the floor mats under the fronts of the tires to get traction if ever in a bind. When finished, I asked her to try it out. She got off the curb with no problem--my good deed for the day done.

However, as I walked another mile west, I ran into an older gentleman who was shoveling his sidewalk, also to remove the pile the plows had left on the side of the road. He looked up as I passed and I asked, "Got another shovel?" He just laughed, so I added, "Seriously, I'd be more than happy to help." He replied, "Sure, it's leaning up against the garage wall!" This task was more difficult than digging out the car. We worked hard and in silence. When finished, I shook his hand, wished him well, and continued my journey.

At this point, I was only a few blocks from my destination--a bench in honor of my family at the church where my Dad's side grew up. Before I got there, an elderly woman was out shoveling her sidewalk. I walked up to her and said, "I'm too late!" She laughed before I added, "I've already helped two other people shovel while out on my walk." Her reply, "I'm just trying to keep up with it a little bit at a time." We traded pleasantries and I went back to my walk.

When I sat on the bench, the 3:00 P.M. church bells started to ring. I'd been on the phone with my Dad earlier in the day and he was audibly upset. So, I called him and said, "Can you hear the bells?" With the phone held up, he listened and it felt like this memory of his childhood--their house was only about a quarter mile from the church--seemed to comfort him.

Always the card, Dad had requested that I not get hit by a car while walking. And, while listening to the bells he asked, "Are you in heaven?"

No Dad, I'm not in heaven, but I feel a lot better after being the Good Samaritan!
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