Embracing the little moments

We were driving down the winding, country road, my mother and I, on our way home from the store. The air conditioning was blasting on full, sending welcomed chilly surges to my otherwise sweltering body. It was about 95 degrees outside, but my pregnant body made it feel like it was 110.

It was summer in Wisconsin, and though it was hot, I was happy to be spending time at one of my favorite places in the entire world, my family’s summer home.  I was singing along to some pop hit on the radio when I saw him.

“What’s he doing?” I asked my mom. I squinted to see more clearly as the man walked on the shoulder of the road up ahead. My mom slowed the car as we passed him, and I instantly told her to turn the car around.

 

Embracing the little moments

I have always had a soft spot in my soul for the elderly; I have ever since I was a little girl. When we saw this old man in a bright orange vest and a cane hobbling downhill on the main road, knowing the great uphill climb he had ahead of him just around the corner, I knew there was no option but to stop and see where he was headed.

After a few fleeting nervous questions of, “what if he has a ride meeting him? What if he doesn’t want help? What if he’s a secret serial killer?” (you know, standard questions), my mom knew she had no choice but to follow my orders and pull over.

An easy choice

I could tell he was hard of hearing as I called out to him from the shoulder of the road, so I got out of the car to talk to him. Bill was on his way home from singing at a local restaurant and ensured us that he makes this walk all the time. I knew the walk would take me at least 40 minutes, and I could only imagine how long it would take Bill in this heat, with his poor vision, and his cane. I asked if we could at least give him a ride home, and he happily accepted.

How easily we could have kept driving, probably never giving the old man on the side of the road a second thought. How easily we could have listened to our fear of the unknown – not knowing if he would accept help, unsure of the type of person he was, hesitant to go out of our comfort zones and do the thing that felt right in our hearts.

But just as easily as we could have submitted to fear, we seized the opportunity, and let me tell you, it was completely worth it.

Our new friend, Bill

Bill invited us into his beautiful home, a home he worked hard on and was continuing to rehab and update, even through his failing vision. He took me down past the gurgling creek running through his property to the little gazebo he was painting. Bill then led us inside and offered us a cold drink, then proceeded to take us on a tour of his house, explaining that his wife died a few years ago and all of his kids and grandchildren lived out of state.  We learned that he’s an active member at our church and sings in a barbershop group regularly.

Before we left, we took his phone number, exchanged our final pleasantries, and headed out.

As we drove away from the almost magical looking cottage, I knew my mom and I felt the same thing. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but it was a mixture of contentment, longing, fulfillment, and wanting … wanting of more of this. Wanting of more Bill. Wanting of more neighborly gestures. Wanting of more comradery.

A continued friendship

Fast forward a few summers later, and we’re still in touch with Bill. In fact, my family just recently was on their way to dinner and saw him walking. They picked him up and treated him to our favorite restaurant for a steak dinner. Bill lent my dad the book Angela’s Ashes and they all had a great time.

What it’s all about

This is what it’s all about, my friends. All those considerate things you think are nice to do but feel funny doing them, it’s time to do them. It’s time to move past your questions, fear, embarrassment, or apathy and embrace the opportunities the day brings you.

A necessary audit

I have been feeling very bogged down by drama that surrounds my little world. I have been feeling discouraged that amidst the horribly tragic events of the world that I can do nothing about, people around me choose malice; I’ve seen people I’m very close to turn into spiteful, cruel people. I’ve felt stress and unhappiness as I’ve gotten swept into this ugly cloud of drama … over what?

It’s not easy to do, but if you can take a moment to audit the stresses and problems in your life, are they really worth it? Are you picking the wrong fights? Are you choosing ruthlessness when you could easily choose generosity?

Small and mighty

I don’t like harping on problems without discussing solutions. If we think there is nothing we can do to make a dent in the world’s problems, think smaller. Smaller doesn’t mean less important, smaller doesn’t mean not worth it. I urge all of us to search for the little opportunities in our day-to-day activities; if a Bill doesn’t fall into your lap, wait until tomorrow, or search for your opportunity. What is holding you back?

lasting thoughts

Let’s all take a breather in our lives to examine ourselves, to check our battles, to seek opportunities for generosity. If we can all do that, I wouldn’t consider those opportunities small – the smallest gestures can make the biggest difference.

How do you think you can seize these small, daily opportunities? What do you think holds you back?

More reading: Responding to Negativity with KindnessA Mother’s Promise of Kindness

Everywhere
  • <3 This was such a refreshing post to read! Thank you, friend!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thanks for reading it, Susannah – I’m glad you found it refreshing : )

  • Sweet Bill. <3
    You have such a sweet heart. Together our little tiny flames of kindness will ignite the world.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      I’m thinking of heading over to see Bill this week and interview him – maybe more posts about him to come : )

  • What a beautiful story. I feel like, amidst today’s chaos and madness, we get too scared to help people like this. You never know what will happen to you but you’ve been a shining example of this is a positive way. You never know how blessed you may be if you take the time to step out of your comfort zone and show someone else some compassion.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      It is actually a valid concern for safety when you want to help someone – you never know the kind of person you’re dealing with, which is also sad, isn’t it? Thank you for reading and for your kind comment, Leslie : )

  • Aw, this was such a great story! A perfect read to get over the Monday blues and focus on the good stuff!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thanks so much for reading! I’m glad you enjoyed my little story.

  • Paige Allison

    Of course you pulled over and gave him a ride! You are one of the kindest people I know.

    But I don’t believe it was that hot in Wisconsin 😉

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Girl, Wisconsin gets HOT, let me tell you : ) Growing up, we used to move up there full-time for the summers, and I would work up there – I worked on the boat docks in my bathing suit all day (rough job, I know), but it could be sweltering.

    • @paigeallison:disqus lol it gets hot girl! So I definitely agree with @ItsSimplyLindsay:disqus lol

      • Lindsay Katherine

        hahah yes Jasmine!! You would also know : )

  • What an awesome story! So kind of you to pay it forward! 🙂 That’s what it is all about!

  • What a sweet story! So rare these days for people to take the time to really connect. Love it!

  • Justine Y

    I loved this post! Look at how that one, small moment had an impact not only on your lives, but I’m sure his as well.

  • I have loved seeing the children embracing and thanking the police officers all over the country with cards, flowers, cookies, lemonade stands. It is so wonderful to see these little acts of kindness in response to such a horrific mess. I loved your post.

  • This is a really sweet story. Being so far away from home scares me and it makes me want to move back to America to embrace it much like what you shared. People like you keep me at ease. Oh, Bill <3

  • Tiffany {A Touch of Grace}

    Lindsay, you are such a kind soul. What a sweet story about how your family made a lifelong friend. And I agree, we need to start doing more of the things we want to, but avoid out of fear.

  • Such a sweet story lindsay. so sweet of you to pay it forward <3

  • Oh my gosh, I love this story! It is so amazing that you made a life long friend out of a simple moment like that.

  • Terryn Winfield

    Simply beautiful. This really touched me and made me think of all those little moments I’ve let pass by. I’ll try to think of this the next time I’m tempted to rush past life, thank you.

  • This is awesome. You are truly such a kind and caring person. The World really needs more of this right now. Thank you for sharing and encouraging me to get out of my comfort zone and practice more kindness.

  • Brittany Ashmore

    You are so sweet and caring/ Love your heart!

  • Wow. Truly one of my favorite posts yet, Linds. How sweet are you. I love your message that we need to get over our fear of embarrassment, fear or rejection. Take risks. They will be worth it most of the time. Sharing!

  • Aww!!! How amazingly sweet!!! I too have a soft spot for old people. I am so glad that you are still able to keep in touch with Mr. Bill. I’m sure he enjoys the company from you and your family. I agree that there are a lot of crazy things going on in this world and it’s so sad. I only hope this world learns that kindness is the answer. Thank You for sharing your sweet story!

  • What a great story. Such caring and generosity. Thank you a for sharing this…a bright spot in the midst of so much chaos and uncertainty. Beautiful!

  • awwww! I LOVE this. I also am drawn in a compassionate way to the elderly. I think it spawns from having been raised by my grandparents and my love for history. I love this story. 🙂

  • Such a beautiful reminder to slow down and take care of each other. Thank you for this post Lindsay!

  • Michelle Lynn

    Truly enjoyed this

  • Courtney Patterson

    This is such an amazing post. It definitely makes you want to stop and think about how we’re all connected on this planet and how we all need each other to take care of one another. Beautiful.

  • I absolutely love this. Beautiful!

  • What a beautiful and special story! Good for you for doing something this, and for showing such kindness!

  • Emily Kib

    Lindsay this is awesome! How wonderful it is that you listened to that call and acted on it! Such an inspiring and encouraging story that it doesn’t even stop there!

  • mylittlerobins

    This is a beautiful post. I often ignore that little voice inside that asks me to do kind things for others, mostly out of fear. While common sense is important, I think that constantly fearing others is partly contributing to hatred and malice in the world.

  • Lauren Norton

    This is such an inspiring story! I hate that we live in a world where we battle with ourselves over whether or not to help someone on the side of the road – a world where we have to worry about someone being a serial killer. I often find myself wanting to help others but chickening out because I am concerned for my safety. I’m so glad you had this positive experience. I have found that although safety keeps me from pulling over and helping people most of the time, there are little things that I can do to help others and make an impact on someone else’s life – paying for someone’s meal for example. Keep embracing those little moments and helping others! As I say, go out there and spread sparkle. 🙂

  • This is incredibly beautiful! We are always in such a rush, for nothing most of the time, we need to just stop and do little things like these! I have a soft spot for elderly people too, breaks my heart that he’s walking such a long way! We never know what others may be facing and holding out our hand to help (even is it’s the smallest thing) can change someone’s entire outlook on life. Love this post so much, God bless!

  • Melissa Latimer

    This is so wonderful to read. In today’s world it’s nice to know that there are still people with good intentions. I am so happy you have a continued relationship. I know a lot of people would have continued to drive passed him.

  • What a beautiful story! I love that your friendship has continued even till this day. I’ve always had a soft spot for the elderly too. My dad’s a pastor and when I was younger I’d go with him to the nursing home when he led chapel. I have such great memories of helping residents who were in wheel chairs to the chapel and chatting with them. I think it goes back to that. 🙂

  • This is a beautiful, powerful story. Lindsay, I feel so uplifted now! And how cool that you’re still in touch with Bill…that’s SPECIAL and so unique in today’s day and age, which is unfortunate. Everyone needs experiences like this!

    Coming Up Roses