walking home this evening, stroller loaded with toddler & groceries...
in case you've never attempted to make your way through a too narrow passage carved through snow and ice pushing afforementioned vehicle, let me just tell you, doesn't work so well- at least not with the model I've got. the wheels catch and movement becomes utterly impossible- immune to techniques of shimmying, charging, tilting back & going two wheeling. so there we were. i contemplated shifting in reverse, choosing the only other discernible path, but wheels weren't having it & the road, narrow & busy.
was about to negotiate the lifting of said toddler and shifting of groceries that would inevitably spill to ground once see-saw like the whole thing tipped without his weight. & there alongside us, well up a car length or two, he appeared. he too was stuck, only his vehicle was 4 wheeled and plowed in against the curb. "can I give you a hand with that?" "please" traversing the bank between us, he climbed and explains, "i'm stuck anyway". gently lifted the foot end as i hoisted the front and we made our way. "you need a shovel" "that would be great, you got one ?" "yep"... that long block felt shorter, though i was mindful of each step. he helps us home. i offer thanks, give him a shovel which he returns to the porch by the time i've got layers off, groceries away & soup started.
this simple interaction completely shifted my experience of that ice, the walkway and affected how the remainder of my evening unfolded... it changed how i chopped the vegetables, it replaced the inner monologue, the longing for summer with a deep appreciation for what this weather can evoke and the power of a simple gesture of kindness. these moments in which we extend ourselves in the smallest of ways can create a seismic shift in the territory of the heart - a softening as gratitude arises & it is in these moments of connection we are most fully alive.
so the next time you feel an urge arise to do something for someone (be it open the door or pick something up from the floor) and dismiss it because (insert excuse here) don't allow the excuse to override the impulse to offer... don't dismiss it thinking such a small thing is meaningless & won't make a difference.
i promise you, it will.