Thursday, May 30, 2013

Entertaining angels unaware...

My daughter Suzanna and I got into an interesting conversation this week about how we live in a culture of fear, and how, because 'stranger danger' is pounded into us from the time we're in playschool, we miss a lot of opportunities for building community or even just meeting our neighbours. But what would the world be like if we treated everyone like friends? A little idealistic, perhaps, but still...

Yesterday afternoon, under threatening thunderclouds and a few large raindrops, I was almost finished turning my compost pile in the back yard when a man came strolling up the back alley. As I threw the last few pitchforks of compost into my bin, I smiled at him, and it was enough. He approached and said, "Ma'am, I've walked an awfully long way. Would you mind if I sat down a while?"

A thousand things flashed through my mind, but the main ones were that it was starting to rain, and he didn't look like any sort of threat I could imagine. So I invited him in, gave him a glass of water, and learned that he was 83 years old and still five blocks from the garage where he was heading to pick up his car.

Don was a very pleasant man, a lifelong Edmontonian, who had bit off a little more than he could chew, stroll-wise. So I offered to drive him the last five blocks, and he took me up on my offer. As I left him at the garage, he told me I was his angel for the day, but as I drove away, I said to myself, maybe he was Christ in different skin, an opportunity for me to do a small kindness for someone else.

Returning home, I tidied up the yard and made a sandwich, and before I even managed to take a bite, the doorbell rang. It was Don, carrying a little floral arrangement for his 'angel.' I'm still smiling. I'm sure he had it wrong... he was the angel. I was just lucky to entertain him for a short time.

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