Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Serendipitous Signs of Hope

Yesterday I had one of those really great experiences in life...an entirely serendipitous feel-good moment. As often happens, the build-up to that moment was not so positive. In fact, it was kind of a nightmare.

I woke up Monday morning raring to go, determined to box and address several online store returns and get them mailed. I had done most of my Christmas shopping by internet, so this was no small task. While I was at it, I also decided to package and send the prizes from my giveaway. (Keep your eyes open, recipients. You know who you are.) Mailing some bills and thank-you notes rounded out my to-do list.

By the time I left home, I had no fewer than seven large boxes, eight bubble-type mailers, and several letters. It took me a few trips to load it all from my house into the car. However, for reasons I cannot quite explain, I arrived at the post office and decided I could transfer all my goodies to the rapidly growing line in only two trips. Staggering blindly toward the door with the first load (no doubt resembling a walking tower of boxes, since the bottom one started at my thighs and the top one was stacked well above my head), I heard but could not see a kind man who offered to help me. I was afraid that removing any one box might cause the rest to crash to the ground, so I thanked him but declined his assistance. Fortunately, he did not heed my words, because as he opened the door for me, one of the boxes would have fallen to the floor had he not caught it. Together, we managed to deposit the first batch of returns on the mailing counter. I expressed my appreciation and returned to my car for the second load.

This time, I assembled the cardboard containers and manilla mailers more artfully, using my extensive knowledge of physics and all things spatial to erect a fool-proof tower o' boxes. I could even see where I was going this time, if I stretched my neck far enough to peer around the right corner. The reward for my efforts appeared to be considerable, because I actually made it through the door (held for me by another Good Samaritan) before disaster struck. At that point, my last few steps to the end of the line became a comedy of errors in every sense. One by one, about half of the boxes/envelopes fell to the floor, each one salvaged by yet another kind customer, who would then join the line of "helpers" walking behind and beside me as I stumbled to my designated place in the cue. Having finally made it, I then performed the coup de grace by clumsily knocking over all of the mailers which had been stacked carefully on the counter in front of me by my gang of do-gooders.

I had inconvenienced so many people in that line that I turned around and apologized profusely. "I'm sorry. I should have waited until somebody was home to help me," I stammered with no small degree of embarrassment. And that's when it happened...my moment to savor and treasure up and share with all of you. The man just ahead of me responded, in a voice filled with good will and sincerity, "Your community is helping you."

I don't know if it was his tone of voice, the words he said, or a combination of both, but that statement went straight to my heart. I couldn't stop smiling, and not just a polite smile, either. I was full-on beaming with delight. My community truly was serving me, and in a day when people are so easily caught up in managing busy lives and carrying heavy burdens, it felt good to know that there was still a community of good neighbors out there for me. For all of us, really.

Because most people are kind. And helpful.

And yesterday, that made me hopeful.


PS. It hasn't worn off yet.


Momza said...

It is often the unsolicited and unexpected service that comes from a stranger that humbles me, takes my heart to another level and inspires me to also reach out beyond my comfort zone to help others too. Thanks for sharing.

Amy said...

Oh, reading that just made me feel so much better. How wonderful so many people were there to help you, and were willing. It is true that people still want to help, I think they are all just too afraid. What a beautiful experience you had!

karen said...

Oh Sue, that kind of brought tears to my eyes! It's true - I don't know why, but so many times we're afraid to put ourselves out there and help strangers. But we should. Oh yes, we should - if only so we don't miss priceless experiences like the one you just had!

Jess said...

I love those times when I'm reminded that people really are good and nice, it restores my faith in humanity, and reminds me to try to look for opportunities to help others out.

Michelle said...

that made me teary. thanks for your artful storytelling.

jen said...

The imagery was artful, and I LOVE the clipart of the bird. Very cool.
The hilarity of the situation was not lost on me, and I'm replaying the scenario in my head. Too funny.
And the kindness of strangers, though rare, is often the most appreciated.
I'll be watching my box for the envelope that caused the second commotion, because I'm sure it was mine!

Jill said...

Oh I love it. What a sweet sweet story!! It is similar to my post last night. Not exactly the same, but along the same lines of kindness and respect.

KC Mom said...

It gives me faith in the world that there is still a "community" out there to back us up!
Thank you for sharing that!

Darlene said...

Wow! I have to admit that this story made me cry. In fact the tears are still running down my cheeks. I know, I know, I am getting older and I have always been sensitive, and the older I get the more sensitive I become. I could imagine myself in that situation at our post office. I wonder if anyone would have come to my aid. After pausing to think a bit on that one, I honestly think I might have gotten help. Maybe it's just that people are maybe willing to help an old lady, but Sue, you really aren't old. At any rate, it was a heart warming story and one that I won't soon forget. I absolutely loved it.

Karen said...

I feel the same way. One day I was driving in downtown, a bad part of downtown and I was stopped at a light. To my right crossing the street was an older lady in a wheel chair. She powered it by her feet and kinda steered with her hands. It was really slow going and her green light was about to change and she was only 1/3 of the way across the street. I wanted so badly to jump out and help but knew that was not possible. Then behind her ambled a man - young, hat turned sideways, baggy clothes, pants hanging half way down his backside, ipod in his ears - ya know, that guy. I thought he would get impatient and just breeze by, but no. Big smile, kind word and he pushed her the rest of the way and for as long as I could see.

I still love that moment and thought shame on me for judging so harshly.

Great story! I love your posts.

Fiauna said...

What a great story. Now I feel all warm and smiley inside too. Thank you for sharing.

Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved | Design by Custom Blog Designs/FreeStyleMama Creations