When we bought our house in Butler County in April 2011, in anticipation of our move from Washington, DC, among the things bequeathed us by the former owners were a pair of hospital beds. When our own furnishings arrived, we moved these beds to remote spaces in our home, not sure what could be done with them. They're heavy, unfashionable, and, as "long twins," not so easy to outfit.
As it happens, a “neighbor” posted an appeal for a twin bed recently on the area's freecycle.org community listserv. It seems her 88-year-old mother had been experiencing some falls and uncomfortable nights alone in her apartment, and she had convinced her mother to come and live with her. All that was missing was a satisfactory sleeping arrangement. In reply, we posted the availability of one of our adjustable beds which seemed ideal for the need. We worked out a time for her brother (pick-up truck man!) and their brother-in-law to pick up the bed and move it to its new owner in her new space. ]
In the course of moving and loading the bed securely into the truck, we learned a little about the woman who would be soon be sleeping more comfortably in her daughter's home. The men told us that "mom" came here from Italy as a young woman in 1954. She witnessed Hitler and Mussolini marching through Rome during WW II. She loves to share her life's story, and often does to unwitting listeners. She has a younger boyfriend (he's 86). Her day is made when he visits and she lights a cigarette so they can reminisce in style.
After the bed was delivered to its new home, we heard from the daughter who had posted the need for a twin bed: "Thank you so much Peter. The bed is perfect for my Mom. She uses 4 pillows to prop herself up at night because of her bad back. She will be coming to stay with me next weekend. I thank you for your kindness and giving heart." A touching photo of mother and daughter accompanied the message. How often do we get to offer a helping hand?
How often do we seize the chance to make someone's life a little more comfortable? As often as we do so, our rewards will be greater than the energy we expended, the break in our routine, and the inconvenience of doing something unplanned.
Grace is powerful.