I’ve been thinking a lot about how many people are voicing their thoughts and opinions on the Internet. I understand the appeal, and I don’t think it’s always a bad thing. However, I get sick of it. Instead of hearing people talk about a problem, I want to hear about those who are doing something about it. I don’t even care if the actions being recounted are life-changing or not. In all honesty, I would rather hear a simple, unadulterated story than frivolous speculation, no matter how well-formed the opinion might be.
So, here’s my story for tonight:
The tree is up, the peppermint-flavored treats are out, and the Bing Crosby Christmas station is set on Pandora. Everything feels merry and bright, and I’m savoring the happy feelings of this season. I even happened across a Christmas-themed Doctor Who episode that I somehow overlooked last season. Well, it was Christmas-themed in the sense that aliens were eating people’s faces while they slept and Santa showed up in their dreams to warn them.
Anyway, Tanner gave me a Lord of the Rings chess set for my birthday last week because, in case my Doctor Who reference didn’t tip you off, that’s how big of a nerd I am. He has now beaten me twice, which means that Gandalf and the hobbits have been defeated by the evil forces of Mordor twice. I feel very sad about this because I’m a firm believer in good triumphing over evil, however, I can’t seem to mitigate my losing strategy with this optimistic outlook.
Two weekends ago, before the chess and the non-stop Christmas tunes entered our daily routine, Tanner and I and an amazing group of volunteers delivered the Thanksgiving meals that I mentioned briefly in my last blog. Everything went even better than we expected, and Tanner and I had the opportunity to meet a few really great people.
One such person was a lady by the name of Miss Rose. We delivered a cooked meal to her on Thanksgiving Day. We stood on the front porch and talked because she had a dog in the house that would “eat us if we went in.” It was about 50 degrees outside, and Miss Rose was barefoot with sponge rollers in her hair. She sat in a chair that had a hole in the center of the cushion, but she wouldn’t take a new one because “they just don’t make them the way they used to.”
Miss Rose has lived alone for 12 years, and she seemed desperate for some company. Her granddaughter had taken her dentures, so she apologized for being seen without teeth. Still, she talked and talked. She talked about her son who is in prison. She talked about her tree that the landlord brutally cut down and about her whimsical ivy garden that remained. She talked about her little orange cat named Peaches who kept coming to the edge of the porch and begging for food.
“All I have to feed her is dog food,” she said as she stretched her hand out toward the cat. “She never lets me hold her, but sometimes she will let me pet her head.”
As Miss Rose kept talking, Tanner and I listened and nodded and smiled. We genuinely enjoyed her company, and I think she genuinely enjoyed ours. We could have stayed and listened to her all afternoon, but after an hour or so, we could tell the cold was finally starting to get to Miss Rose’s bare feet.
Leaning in for a goodbye hug, I felt a soft kiss on my cheek—the kind my own grandmother would leave. My heart melted, and I felt so much love for this complete stranger, this bizarre little woman with curlers in her hair and an orange cat named Peaches. I don’t know who she was in the past or what kind of a person she is when her teeth are in and her shoes are on, but I do know that the short time we spent talking and enjoying one another’s company filled me with joy and hope for a world where people love and care for one another and where strangers don’t exist.
For now, I’m just happy there is one less stranger in my life. In this way, I feel that love has won the game and good has triumphed over evil.