Strangers in the Night

The last couple of weeks have been tough. My husband, Aquila, had emergency surgery rendering him bedridden for several days. He has been very slowly regaining mobility. The outcome is still unclear, and we will find out more in the near future. Our struggle has felt all-encompassing and exhausting.

But our stress is not what this blog is about.

It was my first day back at work after the worst of Aquila’s recovery was over; he was capable of being left alone long enough for me to put my farrier hat on and get back on the road. By the end of a day doing my best to seem together and somewhat normal, I was socially burnt out. The sense of relief I felt was a whole-body experience, as I drove the rumbling diesel into the driveway next to our barn. Finally home.

Slowly turning the truck off, I pressed my forehead against my hands at the top of the steering wheel. After an elongated few seconds, I opened my eyes and saw a red glow over the snow that did not belong. Abruptly sitting up, I looked over to see a car backing into our house driveway. My heart sank.

I gathered my belongings and started to make my way over. Interacting with more people felt like the last thing in the world that I wanted to do, and as I approached I could tell the two men now talking to my husband, were complete strangers. I took a deep breath and scraped together the last shreds of social interaction I had left.

I arrived just in time to see them hand Aquila an envelope. Introductions were made, and they quickly cut to the chase: “I’ll keep this brief as I’m sure you’re tired. We’re from the Lion’s Club”, the one man explained. “We have a budget for people going through tough times in our area, and we are here to offer a little support. No thanks necessary.”

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I was baffled – the words didn’t make sense for a moment. “How did you know?” I asked. “Oh, there are little birds in the community… It’s a small town, and we try to show we care. Have a nice evening!” And they were off. It left Aquila and I staring after them, then at each other, with a sudden boost in energy and optimism.

Although extremely helpful, the fact that they gave us some financial help is the least important part. It is the thoughtfulness of whomever suggested we receive their consideration. It is the authenticity, compassion, and humble attitude of the men who dropped it off. And most of all, it is the sense of being part of a caring community in a world which can feel so estranged from these concepts.

This experience was so uplifting because it came as such a surprise from complete strangers, but that is only one piece of the generosity puzzle we have been experiencing during some darker days. We’ve had neighbours bring us meals, take our garbage to the dump, and offer their helping hands. We’ve had family send gift cards for delicious food that required no time or effort to nourish our weary selves. We’ve had outpourings of love from so many beautiful beings who took the time to call, or write, or send a cookbook, and really connect.

Loneliness is more life threatening than air pollution, obesity, smoking or excessive drinking. Everyone goes through their own difficult chapters, but the level of difficulty exponentially increases when we feel we have to walk it alone. I know in my life, I will do my best to pay this feeling of connection forward, and hopefully make some dark roads a little brighter.

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Have you paid something forward? Would love to know, leave me a comment.

This is part of a continuing story, click here to start from the beginning.

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19 Replies to “Strangers in the Night”

  1. You and Aquila are in my thoughts and prayers. You will both make it through the tough dark times, blue sky days come after. If there is anythng I can do…just say the word.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a lovely blog, Carmen. I love you’re style of writing. You truly have a way with words and I’m looking forward to reading more posts. Also so happy that you’ve experienced that kind of kindness. The lions club truly is amazing and have helped out so many people in our small community. I hope you and your husband are feeling better with each new day and wish you all the best. If you need anything or simply someone to talk to, I’m here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So sorry to hear about Aquila’s struggles even though we have not met him. We so enjoyed you and your mom, that I’m sure he’s a wonderful man. Speedy recovery energy sent your way.

    On the subject of kindness of strangers- I remember the feeling of neighborhood when I was growing up. Neighbors helping each other. Friendly, caring, compassionate. Somehow this seemed to go away in the big city I lived in in my adult years. Not sure why as I continued to try and reach out and get to know folks. Now I live rurally and have refound that sense of neighborhood and community. It is wonderful to know that we are not alone, and relearn to reach out and ask for help.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful story.
    There have been many unexpected kindnesses in my life… of all sorts and sizes… from people I love to complete strangers. Even just being witness to such acts without being directly connected has deep lasting benefits. I like to think the residual good feelings and gratitude all must become part of our day-to-day life, and hopefully get paid forward someway somehow.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Awwww sweetness, I’m so sorry to hear of your dark days, sending hugs to one of my most favourite tenants. You write so beautiful, I enjoy reading your blog, remember, the tough times are what makes us strong! Love you guys!

    Liked by 1 person

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