My granddaughter, Rebecca, called me recently and said, “Papa, I’m in trouble.” It sounded like she had been crying or was about to cry.
Like many grandparents, my first reaction was, “Oh my God, what’s going on?” I felt immediately relieved when she told me she had locked her keys in her car. She had her baby, Daisy, with her; and she was worried that Daisy was getting hungry and needed a diaper change.
While Rebecca was talking to me on the phone, two ladies were leaving the Dollar Store and walked over to Rebecca. They asked her if she needed help, and one lady said, “You look like you could use a hug.” She gave Rebecca a much appreciated hug. They both offered to stay with her until I arrived. A man also stopped and asked if she needed help. As I write this episode, I find myself choking up; and I realize how grateful I am to these people for being there for Rebecca and Daisy.
• One of the ladies told Rebecca that, when she saw Rebecca, it reminded her of when she was a young mother and had some days when nothing seemed to go right.
• Twenty minutes after Rebecca called me, I arrived. As we were headed home, my daughter called after turning on her cell phone and seeing that Rebecca had called. Rebecca told her where the second key to the car was, and Shellie decided to meet us back at the parking lot, where she unlocked the car.
• While we rocked and fed Daisy in the parking lot, I noticed a man sleeping across the parking lot. He was sitting in the parking lot with his back against the cement wall and had his backpack, sleeping bag, hat and guitar next to him.
• I reminded Rebecca of our many blessings compared to the struggles of a homeless person. I gave her some money and suggested she give it to this man.
I followed her and saw her leave the money in his hat. As I followed her, I decided to leave some money, too. I walked up to him and asked him if he was OK. He did not respond, and I got worried and shook his shoulder until he eventually opened his eyes. As I drove away, he gave me the peace sign.
• I would like to share a cup of coffee and conversation with these kind people who helped Rebecca.
• My fellow columnist, Patrick Ibarra, recently wrote a column titled “How do we do it?” This column reminded me that sometimes getting through the day can be frustrating and tiring. Patrick also reminded me that I get so focused on my life that I forget that everyone is also confronting problems and decisions every day, and I am not alone.
• After reading Patrick’s column, I decided to write about Rebecca’s key adventure because his words created the idea to write about how people can do so much when they decide to work together and to put kindness and compassion first in their lives.
• Life is full of peaks and valleys, and working together makes the valleys manageable and the peaks worth celebrating. Thanks, Patrick, for creating a column for me — and for helping me get outside of myself.
• In Michael Garrett’s book, “Walking on the Wind,” Michael states, “There is no such thing as keeping the mountains and getting rid of the valleys; they are one and the same, and they exist because of one another.”
• The Cherokees tell us that we learn the most from negative experiences. Valleys are negative experiences, and all of us have had to crawl out of the valley and keep moving forward. Making it out of the valley creates rainbows for enjoyment. The valleys help us appreciate the rainbows and other blessings.
Bob Billingsley is a columnist at the Mountain Democrat. His column appears bi-weekly.