Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers

As one of six sisters, I have a fondness for all things sisterly, including all the Dillow sisters' blogs. Elizabeth Dillow is a scrapbooking guru, and has read more children's books than anyone else I know on Good Reads. Her blog offers up humor, photos, nostalgia, kiddo stories, and most recently a bit of a challenge.


At Thanksgiving she wrote a post about Mia McDonald, a five month old baby in Washington state, who recently underwent a heart transplant. Mia has a long road ahead of her, but according to her family's web site, was finally able to go home last week.  I really encourage you to click over to her mom's blog. It is uplifting despite the challenges they've faced, and...it features great tunes. John Hiatt's "Have a Little Faith in Me" is one of my favorites. And I love her Quote Wall which featured this keeper: "Okay, put the cookies away, the brownies are almost done..." :-)


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As you can imagine, the medical bills are overwhelming. Friends of the family have created a web site, Help Baby Mia, to raise money. There are giveaways and auctions, and a very simple way to give via Paypal at the top of that site. I love how Elizabeth put it:


"I thought it would be nice if everyone reading might consider donating a small amount of money to Mia's medical fund—maybe $1 per member of your family. Every small amount would help, I'm sure, and Mia will benefit from the kindness of strangers...No one has much extra cash this year, but everyone has a little room in their hearts for a baby who is learning how to live with her new one."


I have personally benefited from the kindness of strangers. Here are the stories of two specific angels whose names I don't know.


One was a short Hispanic man who pulled over in a very beat up Toyota on the Interstate in Oregon. It was 6:30 am, pouring rain and I stood next to a flat tire, all dressed up in my schoolteacher clothes as semi-trucks sped past. I didn't own a cell phone and didn't expect anyone to stop. I opened my trunk and found nothing. I remember being slightly relieved because I wouldn't have known what to do with any of it anyway. Then this man pulled over. 


Mr. Scott, my esteemed colleague who knew me and my distrust of strangers so well, said afterward that the man was lucky I didn't have a gun. Even when he offered me his cell phone, I used it to leave his license plate number on Brian's voice mail, just in case he kidnapped me. He didn't know any English;  he did, however, know to lift the cover in my trunk to reveal a spare tire and some tools. He changed my tire without a word. I tried to give him the $20 I had on me, but he refused. In the rain he took the time to pantomime that I would need to drive slowly on that spare. I got in my car and cried in gratitude, amazed that anyone would stop and help paranoid ole me. And then I thought of my dad, who annoyed my mom on many a roadtrip by stopping to help someone on the side of the road. I remember him saying, "I just hope someone would do the same if it were one of my kids." So I think of that man as the angel my dad sent.


The other story is too long to tell here, and too unbelievable anyway. Here's a brief sketch: the city of Birobidzhan, a day-dreaming girl carrying the master keys to a university, a vile garbage container, two apartment buildings without plumbing, and an angel with a fishing rod. Enough said.


I believe these were real people who chose, in those moments, to be angels and help someone they didn't know. They asked for nothing in return. You and I have a chance to be angels for the McDonald family, and we don't even have to stand in the rain or climb into a gross pit. I hope you'll take the opportunity.


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2 comments:

  1. One of the things I love most about blogging is going back to old posts---with images and words I have often forgotten (those three little LinkWithin temptations at the end of every post delight me). Today I read this one, from almost 5 yrs ago, and linked through to see how Mimi and her beautiful Mia were doing. I remember seeing that Mia made it through her transplant well---and I hadn't followed up since.

    In case, like me, you happen to revisit this old post, here is a link to the McDonald family blog. Mia lost her life here on earth last October 2012. Reading her mother's account is devastating, as Mia had been doing so well and her heart's failure was unexpected.

    I do believe there is much to gain from sharing our stories with each other, even the saddest of stories. I am so grateful to Mimi for sharing her daughter with the world via her writing, and ---based on friends who have lost children, I believe one of the few comforts we can offer grieving parents is to remember their child and let them know they have touched another life. I hope you'll share that with Mia's mom.

    ReplyDelete
  2. One of the things I love most about blogging is going back to old posts---with images and words I have often forgotten (those three little LinkWithin temptations at the end of every post delight me). Today I read this one, from almost 5 yrs ago, and linked through to see how Mimi and her beautiful Mia were doing. I remember seeing that Mia made it through her transplant well---and I hadn't followed up since.

    In case, like me, you happen to revisit this old post, here is a link to the McDonald family blog. Mia lost her life here on earth last October 2012. Reading her mother's account is devastating, as Mia had been doing so well and her heart's failure was unexpected.

    I do believe there is much to gain from sharing our stories with each other, even the saddest of stories. I am so grateful to Mimi for sharing her daughter with the world via her writing, and ---based on friends who have lost children, I believe one of the few comforts we can offer grieving parents is to remember their child and let them know they have touched another life. I hope you'll share that with Mia's mom.

    ReplyDelete

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