One day, one of my brothers called and it was clear that he was in need of immediate assistance. Not for physical trauma. He needed someone to lean against, as we all do at some time. I was thousands of miles away. I could not get to him so I called a person that my brother had mentioned in recent years, an older gentleman who’d been an important figure in high school but I had not seen or spoken with him in over two decades. That day I used the online white pages to track down his home number. With barely a greeting, I told him I was sending my brother to him. He simply said, in a lovely warm voice, “Okay, Cynthia. I’ll be waiting.” And then I called my brother and I told him that he needed to get to that gentleman’s house and when he did he was to call me. He said, “Okay, Cynthia. I’m going.” Time did pass but then the phone did ring. My brother said, “It’s me. Hold on.” Then he passed the phone to the gentleman who said, “Don’t worry. I’ve got him under my wing.”
Why does that story come to mind today? Years have passed. My brother is fine. He and the gentleman remain close friends. I think the story surfaces because over this past week I have been witness to other acts of kindness, and reminded of people like this gentleman, willing to spread their wings over those in need, without question and without expectation. They are bits of brightness in the sometime dark, men and women who are often not recognized by others or even by themselves for the beauty they add to the world. By the way, I have not seen the gentleman in this story, or spoken to him, since that day. I did send him a postcard saying thank you. And, he sent me a card back saying you’re welcome.