The Extra Mile
Yesterday was Halloween, although it held a much different energy than it has in the past.
In some ways, it was electrified by the second full moon of the month, also known as the Blue Moon. Mostly though, there was an air of uncertainty. Millions of families figuring out alternatives to traditional Trick-or-Treating. More neighbors than usual contemplating lights on or off.
As I perused social media this morning, I saw some incredibly creative set-ups. Our next door neighbor set up a clothesline with candy clipped along the string. I also saw families who created what perhaps will become new traditions, more about closeness and less about candy. Kids may have been out and about in fewer numbers, but it would seem as though all across America, people stepped up to make this Halloween special.
I kicked off my own Halloween celebration a little early. I was inspired by ”the Avengers” team at my allergist’s office first thing Friday morning. I found it odd that the receptionist had a gun holster on her leg until I realized (insert face palm emoji): the staff was all in costume and she was Black Widow.
Still fresh in my mind an hour later, I decided it would be fun to don my cat ear headband for my Meals on Wheels route. I wore the same ears to a party a couple of years ago and painted a cat nose and whiskers on my face. I decided to go all out and do the same this year. Oh wait, I realized, my mask would cover up my face.
I grabbed the ears from my bathroom drawer, surprised to see that they were leopard print when, in my mind, they were solid black. As I put bold, sparkly gold eyeshadow on to match the colors, I was struck again by inspiration. Matching the pattern, I began to paint gold dots on my forehead, accented by black eyeshadow to create spots. The costume was solidified by a leopard print top in my closet.
My clients weren't just going to get some rinky-dink ears, they were getting the whole enchilada! Brave and Kind intersect where I don't care about looking silly.
Embracing the idea really got me into a festive fall spirit. Not only was I smiling from the inside out, but I brought a smile to most clients' faces. If I didn't, I think it was just because they didn't quite notice (especially the one I woke up from a nap). I even stopped at an intersection for a young girl crossing the street with her grandmother. She turned back once and then did a double take, a huge smile spreading across her tiny face.
For the first time in about a year, one of the clients I've helped in the past asked if I could come back to assist her. She needed help with an online form that she hoped I could access through my phone. When I returned, I learned she was trying to apply for a loan because she was behind on bills. It broke my heart when I had to inform her she was declined for not one but two different 'pre-approved' offers she had received in the mail.
There were other things I learned about her that day. I had no idea she was 88 years old, or that she shared the same birth date as my maternal grandmother. When I asked to input her driver's license number, she said she didn't have one. She'd never learned to drive.
It was all I could do not to just transfer her the $500 she was seeking right then and there. It is a hazard of my kind heart to want to fix things. My mind went to the place where financial assistance becomes a slippery slope, so I promised to pray for her. Mentally, I knew I needed to pray on an answer myself.
I called my mom yesterday just to catch up. I told her of the agonizing situation and how I had contemplated every solution from contacting MOWI client services, to suggesting the woman call the United Way hotline, to creating a GoFundMe. We talked it over and agreed that we would share the expense of covering her electric bill.
Usually the phrase 'the apple doesn't fall far from the tree' is used with a negative connotation. In this case, I'd like to think that apple came from The Giving Tree.
As things often do in my life, this all came full circle this morning when I saw a news clip about Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost announcing their nuptials on Meals on Wheels America's Instagram. I had no idea the actress was a supporter of the organization, but it's only fitting that the same 'Black Widow' who motivated me to dress up for my route on Friday would be asking for Meals on Wheels donations in lieu of wedding gifts. A superhero after my own heart.
"The more you give, the more you will get. Then life will become a sheer dance of love." ~Ravi Shankar