Sunday, February 22, 2015
Misery and Kindness
Finally, I got a picture of my little girl in the big snow! Blurry and shadowed, but I just wanted a New England picture for posterity. But she hates to put her feet on snow. Today was mild enough that we took the bus home from the Aurora Kiddo Dance Party (you should check it out if you live anywhere near Providence), and LB even walked a bit.
This winter has been a misery of cancelled plans and wet feet, and broken hips, collapsed roofs, and hypothermia. This story that's been making the rounds on Boston social media is a good example of the everyday suffering of trying to function in the endless cold and snow.
In the piece Barbara Howard discusses stopping in her car to pick up and mom and child waiting late a night at a snowy bus stop. The other side of our current suffering is our increased kindness. Each day along my bus route, riders work to get the lady with the walker and the guy with the cane safely on and off the bus. From the bus, I watched an older man collapse in a slippery crosswalk on a busy street at dusk. Two drivers immediately used their cars to block him from traffic and then carried him to the sidewalk. So many "you want to hold my arm?" to unsteady crossers, and a "at least take that guy on crutches!" to the driver of an overfull bus.
It's never easy to get around as a person with mobility issues, or as a parent with a young child and multiple bags. But those needs are so often invisible. Barbara Howard must have driven by moms with kids at bus stops on other late nights, but this was the night she stopped. Because our own suffering has made us more aware of the suffering of others and more sympathetic to them. It's a beautiful thing in this world.