-16 in the Midwest that is a normal thing about this time of year. Doesn’t make it any less bitter, but we are hearty folks and we endure. I guess you really know you are from the Midwest when you look forward to a positive temp as a heat wave.
Next week for example 30’s are predicted with more snow, but hey it’s above zero and we will embrace it, maybe even go outside!
I try to continue my walk each day to and from work. i have managed at least one way each day this week. Yes, they do have buses and yes, I occasionally take one in the morning. But as I check my phone for temp before heading out the door, and everyday I am faced with the same decision as I approach the bus stop, stand and wait for 10 minutes for the bus or keep moving, usually it is keep moving. It seems to make more sense to me. About 1/2 mile in I am evaluating my decision, but once you comit to walk you are in, so I pick up the pace. Gratefully, I see my car ahead, a den of warmth waiting for me. A haven of heat.
As I sit in my car waiting for the heat to burst forth from my vents I am listening to the radio and they are talking about a young student who was found in the snow. My heart breaks a little and it takes me back to my own neighborhood and my feelings of helplessness and fear.
A few nights ago around 1030 in the evening I was upstairs in my cozy bed with a thick warm comforter and the steam heat going turbo, a movie is on and the door is shut. My guy is downstairs and all of sudden I hear a loud sound from downstairs and my dog starts to go nuts. not the regular barking but the fierce I am protecting you barking. I come out of the room and from the top of the stairs I realize there is someone at the door. I watch the scene unfold, the door opens, a brief discussion takes place and my guy is reaching in his pocket and handing money to the unseen stranger at the door.
Afterwards, we talk about it a little and decide to call the police, not because he came to the door but because it was dangerously cold and he was wandering in it. When the police were phoned, they knew about him already, seems my guy was not the first Good Samaritan of the night. I slept a little lighter than usual and the scene was playing out in my brain on rewind for a couple of days. Initially I asked my guy why he opened the door at all, his response was honest and heartfelt. “Should I have yelled through the door and told him to get off the porch or should I open it and extend human compassion for another?” He acted accordingly and without fear from the goodness of his heart.
As I thought about this individual and tried to understand what it must have taken for him to climb those stairs, knock on the door and ask for money. Where had life taken him that he ended up on our porch that night. He didn’t demand money, he introduced himself and asked.
I tossed around a million questions in my mind, why our house? Did it somehow look more welcoming than the others? Would he come again? What should we do if he does? My guy has a big heart, he would help everyone if he could, I have watched him help strangers more than once, simply because it is the right thing to do. I am learning to have both open eyes and heart.
In the days that followed I watched for him each time I pulled out of my garage or drove the streets early in the morning, what was I watching for? I don’t know. He didn’t threaten us, he was oddly courteous as if somewhere along the way, someone taught him something. I was ashamed of myself for being uneasy and unexposed to the plight of those challenged by life.
Tonight I saw him again, I was turning out the porch light for the night, I watched him stumbling down the street, he turned down the alley and swayed a few more feet and stepped behind a garage. I watched from the upstairs window to be sure he got back up. I was worried he had passed out and with the frigid temps outside, he might get frostbite or worse. A few moments passed he reappeared and resumed his stumbling down the street, hopefully towards somewhere warm.
The fixer in me wants to help. To reach out with food, beverages, warmth. But I don’t know his story and I don’t know if he wants to be fixed, maybe he just needed money to get home.
And if someone unexpected knocks on your door, answer…with your heart.
Until Next Time,