February is traditionally a month where stores encourage us to give gifts of cards, flowers, wine and chocolates to special people in our lives. Yet, let's consider romancing ourselves with some gesture that gives us joy, especially those of us living alone. This week, seeing the first tulips at my local store, I bought a bunch of purple ones, which continue to bloom on my balcony. Joy comes in many forms, and another way could be reflecting on our amazing stories, especially the ones which brought their own gift of a lingering memory or became a huge part of our learning. These stories, when shared with another, often trigger ones of theirs, leading to entertaining exchanges and laughter. Let me share with you my most recent story of a few days ago, how 'out of the mist there came an angel' ... and the story goes like this:
It was an hour before dusk when I left my apartment to walk to an antique clock shop and check whether a favourite small brass wind-up could be repaired; realistically a 40 minute journey door-to-door, including store time. Accepting the owner's opinion not to do the repair, I left by a rear door to avoid pavement construction, and take another route back home, absolutely sure I knew the way. Coming to a cross-street I saw a park entrance which I believed exited at my street corner. However, the grass became swampy, the wheels of my walker got stuck, it was getting on towards dusk and had turned misty, and a voice in my head said: "Get out of here". Back on the street, considering whether to retrace my steps and return to the main road, when walking towards me out of the mist there came an angel in the form of a young girl, likely late teens. Confessing I seemed to have got turned around, asked her which way to a local mall near my apartment. Without hesitation she said: "That's where I'm going; let's walk together". Huge relief!!
What an interesting journey! We shared our stories, quotes, places she wanted to visit, particularly Ireland. We likely won't meet again nor, with our masks and the looming darkness, would we even recognize each other if we did. But for those 30 minutes we were BFE (best friends ever), forming a precious connection with no generation gap, becoming another of my cherished memories, and proving the truth of sage words by Dr. Seuss: Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. I'm so glad I spoke up and didn't let her walk on by. Plus, now I know the route! Just to complete the story, I confess that a friend, on hearing my tale, suggested I needed a GPS tracker!! Mmmh!! And, next day had me scraping off my very muddy walker wheels and shoes. Maybe I will stick to the main streets in future as a sense of direction is not my natural gift!!
Over the years I have had many insightful connections - at a store, on a bus, a 'hello' when passing someone walking by ... the key is that one of us had to speak first. Isaac Newton once said that if two angels were sent down from heaven, one to conduct an empire and the other to sweep the streets, they would feel no inclination to change employment; they would know that each moment holds an opportunity to bring light and joy. May I suggest that listening to another, without judgment or censure, is a treasured gift, just as is your feedback, which is appreciated beyond measure.
I acknowledge my artist friend, Eve Lees, who gifted me with Misty that hangs on my wall and is this month's illustration. She also designed the creative layout for my book of short stories, By the Fireside with Dorothy ... Into the Mystic. Starting this month I'll conclude with a few complementary phrases from Fireside, and my thanks to a professional associate for his suggestion.
Until next time, I wish you many moments of light, joy and laughter as you share your stories.
A Fireside Insight: Listen to the young and the older, for each can be your teacher.
By the Fireside with Dorothy ... Into the Mystic, Ch 13, P52.
Rev. Dorothy Blandford, Ph.D
Apt. 202 - 1655 Martin Drive
Surrey, BC, V4A 6E1, Canada