So I’m home at midday — atypical for me — and the doorbell rings. The dogs and I open the door to see an older gentleman, his eyes squinting as if it might bring something into focus, hand clasped tightly by a young girl of probably 6 or so. He asks me if I know where a certain intersection is, as she chimes in with the address. I step out and point — down the hill, I say, turn right, and walk about four blocks. He thanks me, and I look at the young girl and see an air of worry about her. So I offer to drive them there. “Oh, no, that’s fine,” he says, just as she exhales deeply, “oh, a ride would be wonderful.” I see her panic lessen. I can take a hint.
So they pile into my car and we drive the four blocks to his home.
“I have macular degeneration in both eyes,” he says softly. “I promised my granddaughter we’d go to the park and I guess we just got turned around.”
Behind me I hear all about their adventures — and the rapidly changing weather. In fact, we’ve already gone from cloudy to raindrops to sudden sunshine in the space of about 90 seconds.
I pull up to their home and watch the granddaughter clasp her grandfather’s hand, heading for the porch. I wonder who, really, is leading whom.
I’m humbled by their connection and care for one another — and I’m grateful to have been given the chance to witness it, simply because I was home at an odd hour and that I read the relief in her voice at the hint of rescue, and the pride in his that it wasn’t necessary, and the intuition in my mind that made me insist.
Lessons come when we least expect them. Today’s was loud and clear: we’re here on this earth to be kind, to care for others, to create relationships and build community. Grateful, indeed.