The Difference You Make And Never Know

Winter is coming on now and it is cold at last. I have been sitting by the fire and re-reading a post I wrote some time ago about how little we know of the difference very small things in our lives may make to others–a difference we may never be aware of except for unexpected coincidence.  

Late last winter we took our seven-year old granddaughter skiing. Not skiing myself, because of a disastrous back surgery and lungs damaged from pulmonary emboli, didn’t bother me. I had lots to do: reading to catch up on, a manuscript to edit, and paper dolls to make for my granddaughter, who hadn’t even known paper dolls existed!

I am immensely careful with myself around snow and ice, but clearly not careful enough. On my way across a snowplowed street, hoping to find a glue stick for the paper dolls, I hit a patch of invisible black ice. I lay in the street, unable to move or turn over, let alone get up. I knew I was not paralyzed because I could wiggle my fingers and toes. People came running, every face filled with kindness and concern. My innocent grandmotherly errand ended in my first stretcher experience and my first ambulance ride. 

I was diagnosed with a severe concussion and had to submit to confinement in the condo with no reading, no writing, no devices, no TV, not even a cell phone or radio for several days. I thought it would bother me, but I felt too bad to be bored.  

As the days passed, I began to rally. What would make me feel better? Ah, to get outside. And I did feel better. I boarded the shuttle that came right to my door, rode a bit, visited with the driver, and returned safely to my condo. Being out lifted my spirits so much that I went again the next day. The shuttle driver was delighted to see me. He said I had just missed meeting his wife, said he had told her about me, how I talked to him and smiled. “Now that’s why I love my job,” he had told her. When we returned to the condo, he got out and took a selfie with me to show his wife. He insisted on seeing me to the door to make sure I was safe. He said I had made his day. To my mind, it was the other way around.

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