Last week I asked each of you to connect this week with a friend – perhaps a friend you had not been able to visit with in person in recent weeks. I also mentioned how so many of you reached out connecting with me. How grateful I am for each friend and neighbor who connects by telephone, a text, email or letter. Each connection means a great deal.
Connections with friends are absolutely wonderful, but connections made with someone who once was thought of as a “stranger” is also an extraordinary experience. I do know the cautions as we advise children “don’t speak to strangers,” but there are those who we have not met yet who will become friends as we get to know them.
I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people, especially during this time of quarantine and as we visit those who once were strangers are now friends. I am reading a book “See No Stranger” by Valarie Kaur, one recommended by our son Gregg. I absolutely love the thought expressed in the title that we should never see anyone as a stranger.
My sister sent a William Butler Yeats quote recently, “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t met yet.” When I think of newfound friends, I think of the waitress at Guy’s Restaurant, yes now some years ago. As she poured my coffee, always making sure it was a freshly brewed pot, we visited and became friends. Verna at Hannaford’s and Francis in the deli, Jeff McCallus and Judi Shutts, who I met through a coffee sleeve creation at Seasons. There are so many others – Phil, Jackie and Luckie, too and Marcia Curran. I met Lucia Johnson through a shared article in the Hannaford’s magazine. The magazine featured the local woman complete with a recipe if I remember correctly. Jeff McCallus showed me the article and there was a call made for an interview. I shared her story and from there a wonderful, treasured friendship was created. How grateful I am for that friendship and time together sharing across her table.
There have been strangers now friends during this past year, too. I feel so grateful for Zoom connections with new friends on my iPad screen. My heartfelt thanks to Judy VanKennen for making sure all are welcome and each one is connected across the miles. How wonderful to connect with Tim, Evelyn, Nikhil, Gary, Jeffrey, Naomi, Mary Jo, Jeethou and Janet, too. As I begin to list names of strangers now friends from just this past year there are far too many for that listing. How grateful I am for technology and internet connections.
So many beautiful people. How fortunate I have been to continue to be safe while meeting new people. If there is a new individual who has come into your life, my wish is that that person once a stranger will soon become a dear friend. Hopefully in the spring we will be able to all be together and visit actually in person sharing over coffee.
Sister Christine Taylor, SSJ, will celebrate her birthday on October 31. What a truly extraordinary woman she is, always there for each one in need. She is truly one of the most caring and kind individuals I have ever met.
My warmest wishes. Sister Christine. How grateful I am to have met you and had the marvelous opportunity of seeing you demonstrate your caring heart. Have a beautiful day as you celebrate on Sunday.
TURNING BACK THE CLOCK
An article in a magazine I purchased this week in the checkout aisle, describes three actions we can take to make ourselves younger. I smiled as I thought about the descriptions of each one that might turn the clock back a few years.
My life style fits into each of the three suggestions – the first one, yes, deals with the consumption of coffee. Readers were told that a study in Nutrition and Metabolism found that for every cup of coffee volunteers drank daily, their body would be the equivalent of over a year younger per mug. (There are days when three or four entire pots of coffee are consumed here – would that also be the equivalent of one year younger or is childhood not far off!)
The second item tells us that if you admire fall blooms and enjoy nature, a Dutch researcher says for each 10 minutes you spend in nature daily you reduce your age up to five years! (If I told the truth I enjoy nature from inside so this one might not be one that would relate to my lifestyle.)
Reading at least six pages a day, according to a quoted British study, will add 10 years to your life. I love to read and have a number of books I read at the same time – I wonder if I continue to read while drinking coffee will I no longer have to worry about gray hair, wrinkles or being able to walk up stairs while carry heavy packages? The reality is I have no desire to reverse aging by multiple years. I enjoy a cup of coffee and love reading and watching the sunset, but I honestly don’t think any one of those three will reverse my age by multiple years, but it is fun to think of a lifestyle that might be beneficial.
A feature on a national news program touched my heart. Anthony Maggert, a retired Army veteran who served three tours of duty in Iraq and two in Afghanistan, walks with an artificial limb since he lost his leg during his service in Afghanistan. As he traveled on the Beltway in Virginia, he noticed a car on the side of the road with a flat tire. The veteran stopped to help. As he walked to the driver’s window, he noticed a familiar face – “Aren’t’ you Colin Powell” he asked. It was General Colin Powell, who told Mr. Maggert he had called for roadside assistance and that the veteran shouldn’t change his tire. Mr. Maggert said Mr. Powell should let him change his tire – after all he was there! He did just that and made sure the General’s car was ready to proceed safely.
Mr. Powell searched for and located the good Samaritan through Walter Reed Hospital. General Powell called Mr. Maggert and invited him and his family to dinner. They met and enjoyed dinner together.
This past week Mr. Maggert told the reporter interviewing him, “I’ve taken away so many things from General Powell’s life and his example. But in that moment, I learned you have to do good, all the time. Even when you don’t think people are looking.”
What an amazing example. A wonderful thought for each of us to remember and put into action.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“Do anything, but let it produce joy.” Walt Whitman