It happened because of eggs.
Well, because of eggs and because they have redesigned the store where I typically shop. On arrival home, Joe asked if I'd hop in the power chair and head over to the grocery store to pick up bread, eggs and milk. He had several trips up from the car to the apartment with luggage. If we timed it right, we'd both be done and in our housecoats around the same time. I eagerly agreed to go to the store. Using the power chair after almost a month of wheeling manually seemed such a luxury. My thumbs are calloused from the miles pushed and, now, occasionally I get arthritic twinges in the bones of my hand. It would be nice to be carried along easily. Too, I wanted to see all the Christmas preparations in the area.
I went out of my way over to Yonge Street and headed north. I was enjoying the fresh air after over eight hours cooped up in an airplane. It was nice to feel completely, utterly free. The stores didn't disappoint. Clever decorations were everywhere. Even the kinda funky, kinda sleazy sex shoppe around the corner had hung wreaths and mistletoe in interesting places. I was having fun.
Once in the store I headed over to get the eggs last, of course, as they needed to be on top of the bag. I'd also picked up several tins of beans as our traditional 'we're home' meal is beans on toast! It's as homey a meal as you will ever have. I went over to the eggs and then remembered that they had been moved with the store renovations. I went in search of them and found that they were now in a cooler. I'd have to open the door and reach down and back. I couldn't get my chair positioned properly.
I was going to have to ask for help. I looked around but there were no staff in the area. I pondered for a second and then noticed a woman as she walked past me. I called out, 'Excuse me ...' she turned speaking, which surprised me, 'No, really, I'm alright,' she said. I saw that she had been crying. She had a handkerchief in her hand crumpled and wet.
'Oh, no,' I said, immediately embarrassed that I had entered into her upset, 'I was just going to ask you to help me get some eggs.' She saw the situation and said quickly, 'Of course.'
She came over and picked up a dozen eggs, she opened the carton and looked in. One was cracked. She got another carton and these were all fine. She handed them to me. I started to thank her, she stopped me by gently putting her hand on my shoulder, 'I needed to be needed just then. You'll never know how grateful I will be to you.' Tears filled her eyes again and she was gone.
I felt like a really big moment had happened. A moment that I would never understand. Like I was a tool used by an unseen hand in a garden too huge to see close up. Odd how when I set out to help, I often don't and yet other times are ... well, other times.
Sometimes I don't know how to feel about asking for help.
Sometimes I do.
Delightful. Simply delightful. You have a knack for sharing something meaningful just when I need to be reminded to look at things from multiple angles. I always hear the term "a helping profession" linked to my career as a social worker. It makes sense partially, but it doesn't explain the reciprocal nature of this helping role. I likely receive help ten-fold.
Sounds like you chose exactly the right person to ask for help...
And sound like you helped her as much as she helped you.
Hope the eggs were delicious!
A great reminder to all of us who hate to ask. Not just those on wheels! I realize that not to ask is just silly. Why is it so hard? :)
Thank you Dave, you are a beautiful Person.
Wow, you just never know...
Dave, you have the most interesting life!
i have been that woman many times... so grateful to be asked for something, be it eggs or directions or something ordinarily else.
I don't really think I have so much an interesting life but I do try to have an intentionally lived life. I pay attention to my world and what's happening around me. This is becoming almost freakish. In an era where everyone seems to be cutting themselves off from where they are by being elsewhere ... on the phone, on email, on text messaging, between headphones, behind dark glasses ... I have yet to begin to hide from my world. I don't wish to. I don't understand the need to ...
Dave: what a great post. I was born without arms and legs, and am a motivational speaker. When I give motivational talks, I always touch on the importance of helping, and being helped.
I wrote an article about this, you may enjoy:
I'm glad fate intervened and you both got what you needed.
I think you show us that it's important to notice the small interactions we have....that there is great richness there if we shop to notice and listen and really see.
This one gave me goosebumps!
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