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The kindness of strangers
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” What does that mean in today’s world? A few weeks ago, Kathy — a woman whom I had never met and who lives halfway across the Island — showed me what it means.
Through carelessness on my part, I lost my wallet. In a rush to do two things at the same time, I set it on the fender of my car. I suppose we all do something like that at some time, and we usually get away with it. This time, I did not. I ended up at the store with a shopping list and no wallet. After searching “everywhere,” I returned home and set about doing all the other things that had to be done that day. About an hour later, there was a knock at my door. There stood Kathy, my wallet in her hand.
I can’t tell you the joy and relief I felt. She had been out for a bike ride and saw my wallet lying in the street. Instead of ignoring it, she picked it up, took it home, found out where I lived, and brought it to me. After thanking her profusely, I asked: “What can I do in return for your kindness?”
“Nothing,” she said. All she would let me do is give her a hug.
This experience reminded me not only of my shortcomings, but how sometimes we need each other. Isn’t this how we are supposed to care for one another? Not looking for a reward but simply to fill a need? When we look around, there are so many opportunities to be of help to one another. Watch over children and pets, volunteer our time at school, mentor someone in need, or give our parks and streets that extra touch. Sometimes just to pick up after another who has been thoughtless, or as in my case, careless. This is what makes Mercer Island not just a beautiful place, but a wonderful place to live.
We hear so many stories of what is wrong in the world; perhaps we should take just a little time to share the joys of living together.