Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Saint with Rhythm?

I like a rhythm to our life. While Marty was never a rhythm kind of person it suits her now. Some might call it a rut, I call it a rhythm. Having a rhythm to our life, having a time and place for doing things makes it a lot easier to care for Marty. Doing things in order, doing things when they need to be done, doing things how they need to be done makes for a little bit more predictable life for us and predictable ain’t all that bad in the care giving business.

Tuesdays I go to the grocery store, in our town it’s an HEB. It’s a great store, it’s a big superstore where you can get potato salad, zucchini, organic peanut butter or a big screen television if that’s what blows your dress up. The TVs make the place a little cumbersome but they have really good produce. I go to the store on Tuesday mornings because, well, that’s what I do to keep the rhythm in my life and keep our produce fresh.

Tuesday morning the store is populated with older folks and young women with young kids. It’s great sport to weave my basket in and out of the catatonic shoppers and crying infants as I make my way up and down the aisles.

As I was moving down the snack aisle, you know the one, the one with the chips (this is not a good area for a carbaholic) I saw a slight, older woman struggling to load an eight pack of water bottles into her cart. I pulled my cart beside hers, stopped and reached across her cart and took the water from her and asked her where she wanted it. She pointed to the front, I set the water down, she said thanks, and I continued my hunting and gathering feeling good about helping someone.

This little act helped this lady with her chores, this little act helped make my chore of gathering the weekly food supplies a little less mundane, a little more rewarding, until I got to the paper goods section. There are entirely too many paper towel options and when faced with this overabundance of choice, I choose to freeze. This is where I generally mutter under my breath that I wish Marty were here making these choices.

This frustration passed and the good feeling of my saint-like behavior returned, until the crazy lady in the parking lot almost backed over me as I was returning my cart to the cart landing strip. Of course it was her fault, would I ever wander the parking lot of HEB with my head in the clouds? Maybe she wasn’t that crazy, maybe I’m not a saint.

Doing small things for others, the somewhat trite random act of kindness is good for the soul and a proverbial poke in the eye of all of the angst and discord around us. Marty was big on doing little things for almost anyone. She could not pass the random homeless guy standing on the street corner without giving them some money, the whole “least of these” thing kept hammering her. She actually made chicken noodle soup for sick people and I think it might have cured some lame folks down the street.

With all of the bile and vitriol, the hate, the bigotry, people trying to burn books, I still see, on a daily basis, people doing small good deeds for others. I see people hustle to get ahead of Marty in her wheelchair to help with doors, I see people reach down and pick up the towel she dropped as we pass by, I see the man offer to return the shopping cart for the older woman in the parking lot so she doesn’t have to walk in the heat, I see it every day and it makes me almost forget all of the nastiness that seems to pervade so much of our society, it literally makes me feel better.

Marty sees it too. I know she is positively affected by the people who take the time to touch her shoulder and bend over to her eye level. I know she is forever changed by the kind words, thoughts and deeds we see on an almost daily basis.

I suspect we all see these small good things. We just are moving too fast for them to register in our brain; sometimes they just don’t seem to hit all of the right neurons so we remember them. We really need to make it a habit of filing these random acts in our psyche and learn to recount them for other people to feel, hear and maybe, just maybe gain a little hope.

I know I’m not the only saint in HEB, heck I may not even be a saint, just don’t tell my Momma, she still thinks I am.

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