Love where you live!
The other evening I walked over to a friend's house about a block away. It was pouring and windy and cold. I was very happy to have an umbrella to carry and a warm coat to wear. As I put my umbrella outside his front door and stepped into the warmth of his house, I couldn't help but remember one rainy morning on my last trip to visit my son in Washington DC.
I was riding in his car and we were stopped at red light at a busy intersection during morning rush hour. He was on his way to work, and I was dying to get a cup of coffee at Bourbon Coffee a few blocks from his office at the Peace Corps in downtown DC. It was raining. Pouring, actually. And windy. Across the intersection I saw an old woman with a shopping cart overflowing with her possessions. She was using her umbrella to shelter her things, but her's was a spindly one with the spokes poking out here and there, an umbrella that had clearly lost the battle with the wind too many times, an umbrella that would gather more rain than it could ever repel.
There I sat in a nice, warm car holding a brand new umbrella I had almost never used. It was a gift from a publisher of mine, a beautiful large umbrella with a button to push to make it go up. I watched her fighting the weather and the curb. The rain poured and the wind blew and the curb began to win the battle with her shopping cart. I kept thinking I should give her my umbrella. I heard myself think it four or five times. You should give her your umbrella, you should give her your umbrella…And then just as the light turned green, I said it out loud.
"I should give her my umbrella…"
But by then it was too late. The light changed and there was so much traffic and so much rain and we were running late. We had to go….
I continued to watch her in the side view mirror as I held my umbrella in my lap.
Then the road curved, and she was out of sight.
But she was not out of mind. I continued to think about her while I ate lunch in the dry lobby of a beautiful hotel, and I thought about her while I had dinner hot off the stove with my son and daughter-in-law and grandchildren. I thought about her when I turned off the lights and crawled in between warm flannel sheets.
I would give anything to have given her my umbrella.
So I've decided that the next time I think to myself that I should do something, something right and good, I'm going to; because doing something good and wishing I had are very different things.
© 2011 Chris Shea, Lifesighs Cards®