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Posts Tagged ‘good deeds’

This morning I received several different examples in my inbox that referenced the use of creativity.  First I received a Daily Reflection courtesy of Alive Now Magazine, a publication in which I’ve had photos appear.  Today’s reflection was “Imagine you are giving a party inviting the poor, crippled, lame, and blind in today’s world. How would you need to engage your creativity to offer them your hospitality?”  You can read the full reflection here. It was strange to see this reflection about using creativity to offer up hospitality, and then to read this NYTimes article and some other articles highlighting how people are engaging their creativity to devise new strategies for relocating the homeless, and not always in positive ways.

A Rodin Sculpture at Boston MFA

A Rodin Sculpture at Boston MFA

The articles made me mad but the reflection brought to mind my mother.  One holiday season she invited to dinner a mentally challenged neighbor.  He had no family coming to visit that year and we had plenty of food.  But, you see, my mom was a very private person.  For others, and maybe even this same man, in the past she had always made up a plate and sent my father or brothers down the street to knock on doors and share some food.  I do not know why she invited this man to our house this time.  I think she was creative in her approach so that she could do this “good deed” and maintain some sense of privacy that was important to her.

Gerber at the Kitchen Table

Gerber at the Kitchen Table

The man was invited to sit in what the family considered “Pop’s chair” in the living room.  My mom served him the first plate, and my dad served him his refills.  After eating, the man watched TV and even took a nap.  My younger brother and I were small enough to ask out loud, and too loud, “When is he leaving?”  She shushed us but I could tell my mom felt the same way.  After he did leave, my mom swore she’d never do such a thing again.  She never did the exact same thing again (that I can remember) but she did do other things of a similar nature — good deeds that sometimes exceeded her comfort zone. Deeds done creatively.

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Not a rainbow but …

… I was taking a shortcut through the Boston Public Library, making my way from the Boylston Street entrance to the Dartmouth Street side.  Of course I had to pause for a quick browse of the New Arrivals shelf.  That’s where I saw the deed take place.

It would be easy to assume that the old man was homeless, one of the many who frequent the building.  His clothing was bedraggled to say the least and his beard more than a bit unkempt.  His brown skin was weathered into the proverbial leather.  Despite apparent age, there was an almost childish bright light in his rheumy eyes.  While he walked with the aid of a battered metal cane, there was a spryness to his step as he made his way across the room.  But, I have to admit, I noticed none of these details until later, until after I heard the young man’s voice calling, “Hey.  Hey! Wait a minute, old man.”

The old man had been walking away from me, but he turned at the younger man’s voice, and that was how I was able to see his face.  The younger man had been walking toward me, looking gruff and rushed as so many of us do today as we race, race, race.  I had seen him brush passed the old man nearly knocking him over.  But then he had stopped.  The gruff look upon his face had not changed. In fact, it deepened.

At some point the younger man  spun around.  With a fierce, aggressive energy, he called the old man.  When the man paused and turned to face him, the young man raced back to him.  “Here,” he said, and shoved something into the old man’s hand.

The old man raised a plastic bag.  It was just clear enough for me to see that inside were a pair of shoes.  I glanced down and saw what the younger man may have seen.  The old man’s feet were barely covered by a pair of threadbare sneakers.

“Where did these come from?” the old man asked, clearly perplexed.  The younger man had already turned away.  Over his shoulder he growled, “St. Francis.”

The older man looked at the bag, shrugged, and continued on his way.

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