We were coming home, a grey and grizzly day, cold seeped into our bones. Yes, summer in Canada can include days that feel like early winter. As we were walking home I suddenly thought of our next door neighbour. We don't really know her that well. Just the usual neighbour kind of interaction - we'll take parcels for her, she'll take them for us.
Recently Joe ran into her and she told him that she was having more and more difficulty getting around and she was fearful of becoming house bound. I mentioned to Joe that we were not in a rush and asked him if we should call her and see if there is anything she needs or wants from the store.
Then began the discussion. We worried that she would feel our call intrusive. We worried that she would regret having said anything to Joe. We worried that she would think that we felt sorry for her. We worried that she would misinterpret our act in some way.
We were almost home when it was decided that we'd just ignore our worries and just make the call. If it annoys her, it annoys her. So, we called. Her voice was wary until she recognized my voice. I told her we were on our way home and wondered if she wanted or needed anything.
"Strawberries," she said, "and cream."
"I would love to have some strawberries and cream."
There was nothing else she needed. So we headed off and picked the finest basket of strawberries we could find. We got the cream. On our way home we called her with the amount, as she had asked, so she could get the money ready.
Arriving home, Joe helped me into the apartment and then headed over to her place to give her her little package.
It was such a simple thing to do. But we felt enriched by the whole thing.
I wish I worried as much about the things that come out of my mouth when angry or annoyed. I wish I worried about the feelings of others who are at the blunt end of my words and actions when I act from impulse not thought due to frustration or anger or annoyance. I wish I spent the time worrying and wondering and figuring then.
But no, I worry kindness.
And give harshness free reign.
I've got that wrong.
Do me a favour, buy someone strawberries today.
You know who would like them.
You know who needs them.
So just do it.