The kindness of strangers

So here I sit at Dana Farber, waiting for another CT scan. In general, I should get one every other month, to measure progress, and I am not due for another until next month. But because I decided to go back on chemo, the doctor wants a “baseline” CT scan, so here I sit again. Not loving the radiation but alternately choosing to bless it or ignore it.

I set a goal to arrive to this appointment on time. When I drive someplace, I often set a specific target time, such as, “I will pull into a parking space at 12:45.” And then I see if I can make that.

On track and almost there, I got into the right lane to make my turn. There was already a taxicab stopped at the red light, and I pulled up behind him, waiting.

After a few moments, the light turned green and the cab driver GOT OUT OF THE CAR. He then walked to the trunk and opened it. The trunk was empty, so I assumed that meant he was waiting for a passenger and not moving anytime soon. Apparently, I now needed to go around him and get in the left lane to make my right turn (a common move in Boston driving).

I looked over my left shoulder; traffic was heavy and thick. I would be going nowhere anytime soon, and I realized that I would miss my target arrival time. I looked again at the cab driver in front of me. He was tall, with broad shoulders, strong muscles, short hair and dark skin. He moved gracefully, and his facial expression looked apologetic. I felt my heart actually open to him, and wanted to say it was okay. I couldn’t find it in myself to be angry or annoyed. He seemed like a kind man just doing his job and trying not to be in the way on a busy street, and really, this was just a minor inconvenience for me and one that I could manage.

And then….he stepped away from our cars and into the oncoming traffic, stopping it. Through my open window, he told me that it was clear to go. I wanted to stop and marvel, even fawn over him, but he waved me on again, so I just said thank you and drove off.

I wished that I could do more, somehow show my thanks in a bigger way. But I have no idea how to do that, especially now. I really appreciate his kindness, and want to pass it on.

But did I do that? No. Once at Dana Farber, the IV nurse kept calling me “Mary.” So I got snippy with her, when really, there was no need to do that.

Welcome to humanity. I’m aiming to do better. My friend, Alyson, told me that, in rowing, each stroke is a new stroke. I think that is my current mantra. Each chance is a new chance, and I am so grateful to even HAVE another chance to do better.

In the meantime, I send my gratitude out to that amazingly generous man who saw a problem, not even his problem, but a problem, and stepped in to fix it. And I send my gratitude to each of you, as you take time out of your day and, through your heart and your prayers, clear a path for all my twists and turns. Thank you.

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