I am always amazed when I encounter an Angel Amongst Us that, in the process of performing a simple, kind and unexpected act, has the power of restoring my faith in humankind. My parents — each of their own accord — are today’s angels. Note that my parents are long-divorced (25+ years). As such, I have to admit that they are strange blog-fellows. As it happens, though, their random acts of kindness happened on the same day and so here they are… My Angels Amongst Us:
My Mom’s across-the-street neighbors recently moved away. She loved them dearly and will miss them terribly. However, embracing the change, my Mom brought some cookies to her new replacement-neighbor with a little note welcoming her to the neighborhood. The woman happened to be home sick from work and was deeply touched by the kind gesture. So, let me ask you honestly… how many of you received a “Welcome to the Neighborhood” care package? How many of you have given one? (Heidi – I know you do this so here’s your Angel Amongst Us 15-minutes in fame shout out!) It was such a very simple and kind act that is, sadly, relatively unheard of in this day and age… at least around these parts! Afterwards, Mom spent the rest of her day cooking a meal for 16 hungry men — the residents of a local group home whose mission is to rehabilitate those who have “done time” for breaking the law — doing her part to help reintroduce them back into our society and make them feel like productive and positively contributing members. Mom is consistently a “ray of sunshine” (my friend Leslie’s description) in the lives she touches. BRAVO Mom!
Meanwhile, across town on this snowy New York winter day, my elderly father — 77-years-old, to be exact — was out shoveling not only HIS walkway but his much-younger and able-bodied neighbor’s walkway all the way through to the corner “so that people can walk safely without slipping and sliding all over the place” he said. It is 20 degrees out today! Furthermore, my dear old Dad, who no longer drives, goes out walking every day — not just to pick up my daughter from school which he does no matter how much I protest that “I’ve got it all under control” (false illusions get us through, don’t they?). You can find him limping along with his old-sport-injured knees, struggling across unshoveled sidewalks almost everywhere he goes. Though occasionally he’s fallen, he never complains, picking himself back up again and continuing on. Me? I’d have a few choice words for the folks who didn’t bother to clear their sidewalks (at least in my mind if not on my lips). But, not Dad. There he is just as quick to go out and shovel his own as his neighbor’s sidewalk for the sake of strangers and passersby. My hat’s off to Dad too!
I have to say, I do not find the young folks today so willing to do such good deeds just for the sake of doing them. “Pay me and I’ll shovel for you” is the ever-present mindset today as evidenced by the knock on the door and “the pitch”. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with teaching our children the value of earning money and entrepreneurship at an early age. But certainly, there’s a lesson in teaching them to help others — to be an Angel Amongst Us — just for the sake of doing the right thing! And, I promise you this attitude goes a long way toward your own happiness as much as the happiness of others.
Here’s another promise, my daughter and I will be out shoveling walkways for our elderly neighbors the next time it snows… unasked and unpaid. It’s a lesson in happiness I wouldn’t want her [or me] to miss out on.
My new Angels-Amongst-Us mantra: No good deed should be left undone.