The email arrived like so many others, “I have a sewing machine to donate. I’d like more information.” And my reply was like so many others, “here’s a link to our website where there is information on collection sites. Thank you so much!” But his reply caught me. “Could someone come and pick up this machine? My wife has Alzheimer’s and I can’t leave her.” The details. There is always more than we see on the surface.
“OK, I’ll find someone to stop by and pick it up.” Disclaimer here–we don’t usually do this. With so many machines pouring in I encourage donors to find help if they need it. There is no deadline but we ask that people get machines to us, whether by drop off or by mail– we ask that they take charge of delivery.
But the words appeared before I knew it. There was something deeper there. There always is but somehow…
We made the arrangements and dear, sweet Trish stopped by and picked up the machine. Thank yous were both said and written. The deal was done.
But it wasn’t.
Trish called today to read me an obituary. It must be his wife, I thought. But no. It was his son. A lifetime of suffering had ended at the boy’s own hand and all our donor could do was write about his child in the wake of this sadness. Trish and I sat on the phone and cried for a boy we’d never met, a man we barely knew, a family we’d never heard of only a week ago.
Isn’t it something how the threads of our lives cross, knot, tangle? And what are we to do with this–these glimpses into the deeper stories moving beneath the surface of each life? I believe that seen or unseen, we must remember that the stories are there and move as if each of us needs compassion and care. I believe that every connection has meaning and is meant to be–no matter whether it is big or small–our paths are meant to cross. It may be that we are meant to help one another, become more important in each other’s lives. It may mean that we are simply meant to be reminded to pay attention.
For me, today, it means that I stop and write to this man I don’t know about his beloved child and know that somehow, somewhere, our threads were meant to cross.