Monday, June 30, 2014

We're In This Life Together

I try to walk our dog, Shadow, every day around the neighborhood. Granted, the weather dictates just how far and how long, but we usually pass by the same houses. I know most of the people on our route by name, and Shadow knows most of the dogs by smell.

Quite a number of these folks are elderly, so I always make it a point to greet them with a smile and a friendly hello. When invited, occasionally I'll sit down and chit chat for ten minutes or so. One couple in particular seems to look forward to my little visits. Mike and Doris are both in their eighties, both fraile, but although the husband is not very talkative, both are of sound mind and actually very witty.

Last summer I spied a 'for sale' sign in the back window of Mike's newly-purchased automobile. I was confused since I knew he'd purchased it only a few weeks prior. On the way back from our walk, I saw Mike outside, approached him and asked why he was selling it. He told me he could no longer drive because of his eyesight and didn't know what he was going to do in regards to shopping, doctor's appointment, etc.
I asked him for a piece of paper and a pen, jotted down both mine and my husband's name, and included our telephone number. I encouraged Mike to call us anytime, and if we were available, we'd be happy to drive him and Doris wherever they had to go. We're both retired and can afford to help out neighbors in need.

Several days later when visiting, I asked Doris if Mike had given her our information. She readily said that he had, but they just couldn't take advantage of us. They didn't want to burden others with their problems. Again I assured her they wouldn't be an inconvenience and to please let us be of assistance. She said if they really were stuck, Mike would give us a call. He never did.

Yesterday I stopped to visit for a minute. Doris was sitting on their concrete wall, Mike on the steps leading to the front door. Both looked extremely uncomfortable. I asked what happened to the outdoor bench they've always sat on under the front awning to keep cool. Doris told me it was in the garage, but too heavy for them to pull out. When I offered to get it, Doris emphatically stated that she'd rather I didn't. The dear old woman was afraid if I got hurt, I'd sue them. I assured her that if it was indeed too heavy, I'd summon my hubby to help me. I asked if I could at least go in and check it out. Reluctantly she agreed. A few minutes later, I was rolling the bench out on a dolly and had it positioned in their favorite spot in no time.
Tearfully Doris thanked me and handed me a tiny box with an Italian candy inside. I remember eating those when I was a kid. As I accepted her gift, I thanked her profusely for giving me the opportunity to be of service. Of course she said they were the ones who should be thanking me.

I'm not sure that Mike and Doris understand that they were gifting me much more by accepting my service than what I had actually done for them. As we grow older, we need to realize that we can still do for others by permitting others to do for us.

The one lesson we all need to learn is that being in need at anytime and asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a chance to teach others what they can do to better themselves.

We're all in this life together, so together let's make life better for everyone!