Usually I take a picture and that inspires me to get thinking about an idea for weekend motivation. This time though it went backwards I took the picture to suit the idea. I’ve always been a firm believer that with the exception of a few bad apples, so rare you’re not likely to run into even one, people are generally good people given the chance. That got proven for me this year in a big way. I also now that it feels great to do good in the world and both of those situations involve poinsettias for me, weird right?
It is a lesson I learned early and at Christmas too. I can’t remember how old I was somewhere between 7 and 12 but after my dad retired he founded a meals on wheels for our area which is still running today. One Christmas day we even delivered turkey dinners in a snowstorm as part of the program. I can’t remember why I was in a funk about going maybe I was so young I just wanted to play with my toys, or I was scared of the storm or maybe I was a bit older and I was already in the angry poetry wearing black angsty phase. Whatever reason and age I didn’t want to do it at the time. But my dad wanted to show us how important it was to give back and how good that could feel.
So all four of us packed into the SUV put it in four wheel drive. For all of the people on our route my parents also got them a potted poinsettia. Our last drop off was at the top of a very steep snowy hill so close to where I live that I often run it now, but it took us several slow and scary attempts to make it to the top. My dad and I dropped off the hot meal and flower to a very old man who’s sight was failing and headed home. As a generally nervous kid I was just happy it was over. I can’t remember if I was there the next time or just told about it but the old man relayed the story to my dad of his very own Christmas miracle. He said an angel came to him on Christmas day out of the terrible storm and kept him company. She even left him that flower and he showed it to my dad proudly. It totally changed my perspective on the day and all of a sudden little me started to get it that while helping him did do good for him it did so much more for me.
Fast forward to this Christmas season and a little old man much like that helped me out of the snow. This year I was returning a wood splitter with my new to me truck. It was raining at home when I left closer to the ocean but a few kilometers up the road it was treacherous. I had Honey’s youngest son with me (he’s 23) and it started to become clear that the bald tiers (planned to be replaced the next day), 2WD and no weight in the back meant we weren’t going to make it there safely. I couldn’t keep the truck in my lane even at a crawl and if I kept going any further I was going to drive off the road or hit someone else. I wanted to make it to a friend’s yard but even though it was only a few 100 meters away the slight hill meant I probably wasn’t going to make it even that far.
So I pulled into the first private road and stopped at the first house with lights on and a car in the yard. A very old man answered the door, gave me a hug and told me of course I could park on his lawn. He even instructed me in parking far enough from the road and instructed us to hide the splitter (a high value item) on the deck behind the house. Instead we walked to that friend’s hose and got a drive home. I wanted to thank him for helping a damsel in distress something he thought was behind him and I couldn’t think of anything better than a poinsettia.
I stole/borrowed this quote from one of my favorite sustainability youtubers (check her out here) but I really do love it. Sometimes when I’m running in particular I get to see the amazing things people do for each other. You can read a bit more about that on Sadrunner here, but this weekend keep your eyes open you might get to see someone doing good in the world or even better get to do some yourself!