I wonder sometimes about timing. Maybe if I had sat in the next subway car over that day I’d have run into a friend. Maybe if I hadn’t been running late the other night I would have met a new business contact. I don’t believe in fate. I don’t think there’s some force controlling things. But I do think that sometimes timing is everything.
After this weekend’s great walks, I decided to keep up the momentum, at least to some degree. Ok, I won’t be walking 3 miles every day, but I know I need to do more than what I was doing before the trip. So today I promised myself I’d take a long-ish walk. A mile seemed like a reasonable goal. But it was too hot. So I ate some ice cream. Still too hot. I sat in front of a fan and watched tv for a while. Yup, still too hot. I ate dinner. Ok, it had cooled off enough, time to get off my ass and walk!
I debated washing the dinner dishes, then decided to let them wait. I don’t usually do that, but I wanted to get out before it got dark. I could have changed my clothes or checked an email, but instead I rushed to leave so that I would be sure to take the walk. What if I had delayed leaving for any reason? On the walk, I slowed down to chat with a nice guy with a cute dog. I’m a sucker for a cute dog. What if I hadn’t slowed down? I finished the big loop and ended up back at my building. I could have stopped, but I pushed myself to also do the smaller loop that I had already planned to do. What if I had skipped that? At the far end of the loop, before turning back towards home, I decided to push myself and do a bit more. I started walking a longer route home. What if I had turned back when I planned? But I didn’t.
And that’s how I turned a corner and saw a blind woman in the road. It was a relatively quiet one way street, and the car had stopped and was waiting patiently. The woman was in the middle of the wide street and she turned left, moved her cane, then turned right, moved the cane some more, then turned left again. A guy across the street was watching this, clearly not sure what to do. How many of us have been in the same position? I’m guessing most of us have been on the receiving end of this internal debate: is it better to risk offending someone by offering potentially unwanted help, or to risk letting someone struggle by not offering potentially needed help?
I called out to the woman to ask if she needed help, and she gratefully said yes. She was on her way to the T and had gotten turned around. I led her back to the sidewalk. She asked if I was going to the T and I said no, but that I was walking past it, which was true. She immediately slipped her hand onto my arm and asked if I’d lead her there. Of course I was glad to. We joked and laughed about how we hold ourselves to high standards, trying to be perfect despite our disabilities. She, of course, had no idea what mine were, but that didn’t matter. We had a nice chat, and then I left her off at the door to the train station and continued on home.
There are dozens of ways we might have missed each other. I don’t believe in fate, but I am so glad the timing worked out so that I could help someone else. It is so easy to become absorbed in our own health issues, and it meant a lot to me that I was able to get outside of that to help a stranger. I am sure she would have eventually made it to the station without my help, but I hope that I made her night a little better.
If you can relate to this, please pass it along and share the camaraderie! Let’s build a community!