Thank all of you who left comments on my last post. They were funny, affirming, sweet, and loving beyond measure. You all are wonderful, my friends!
I had an experience early on in the week that has stuck with me and that I've thought about daily. Our house is heated by a wood stove and it has been cold here lately. We have some little space heaters in the wall that can be used to generate some heat in an emergency but they are tiny, the house is large, and they're electric and expensive. I've been running those but it was down in the single digits and I was still freezing and trying to write every day.
Tuesday it dipped down to 8 degrees. I woke up and decided that no matter what, I was going to get the wood stove going that day. It involved setting up our portable humidifier and getting wood in from the woodshed. I needed a man. Or a woman with a stronger back than I had.
So I recklessly called people on Craig's List. I didn't care if they were licensed, bonded, or could spell. I wanted someone then so that my fingers would thaw out and my nose would stop running. I ended up connecting with several nice people, but Ed answered first so he got the job. Ed came over and cleaned and assembled my humidifier, he filled my wood round, he started a fire. He refused work gloves and our firewood carrier, saying he liked to do things "the old-fashioned way" and carried the wood in his arms. While he was there, he also cleared the debris from the storm last week off of my driveway, out of the front and back yards, and blew the roof off and cleaned out the gutters too. He worked fast. He was really concerned that everything was the way I wanted it and that he do a good job.
I don't really know anything about Ed. I don't know why I trusted him from the moment I talked to him on the phone.
But what I've thought of again and again was something that happened when Ed started the fire. I picked up our broom and started to sweep up the dirt and stones and wood fragments that always litter our hardwood floor from the back door to the fireplace whenever wood is brought in. Ed said, "No, no...leave it; I'll get that." It startled me, but I left the broom, and sure enough, he swept up after himself.
Even writing about it makes me cry for some reason. I felt a feeling I haven't had in a long time. I felt cared for. I know it was a little thing, a small thing, but it gave me a feeling that is rare in my life.
Growing up I didn't feel cared for. I knew that my parents would begrudgingly provide, but that I was to "earn my keep" and that I was there to serve them, to make their lives better and to justify my existence. I lived for the day I would turn eighteen and get to leave home. Since then, I've tried to give back in relationships and jobs and life in general and to make sure that others know how much I care for them. And I've sort of recreated my home situation again and again I fear.
So when Ed went beyond and seemed to care---Ed the Stranger---Ed the cleanup guy from Craig's List---it broke my heart open this week. It was especially tender that he was a man. Sometimes I think that angels come to me in male form because God knows that I expect so little from men and She wants to surprise me.
I called Ed and thanked him for his good work but I couldn't really expressed how he'd touched me so deeply; I didn't know how to explain it in a way that would make sense. That happens often to me. Sometimes I try to convey to people how I appreciate them and how they've touched me by signing off (say on a comment on a blog post) with what I want for them and to thank them in my signature when I wish them peace and love or joy and blessings or hope and rest and peace. It's still hard to convey, though.
As hard as it is, that is what I wish for Ed and for each of you. Thank you for touching my life and for helping me to feel loved.