It snowed last night. Not a small, push it off the driveway type but a real snow storm. As you know if you follow me, I had a knee replacement four weeks ago. Things are progressing but not to the point where I was going to be the answer to how does the driveway get cleared?
It was about 6:30 am when I heard it. That distinctive sound a snowblower makes in the still softly falling snow. Conner, our neighbor from down the block, was just completing a run down the sidewalks of our street and about to turn around on his way back for the second sweep. Shortly after, another snowblower could be heard. This time it was my 80 something year old neighbor across the street. Without his yet done, he was busy clearing mine.
Have I done anything to deserve this? In my mind, I would say no. Sure I have been a good neighbor and I have answered the occasional question related to my career expertise and yes I lend a hand when needed. But did I deserve this red carpet service?
I think it is a combination of things that moved these two neighbors to help out. One I would call the snow storm phenomenon. There is something magical about a storm that just brings people together in a common cause. Nature reminds us that in that moment we are subject to the power of the storm and it brings us together in a spirit of camaraderie to take back control. We form up outside our abodes and conquer the task of cleaning up. Borders are dropped and all needs become our common needs.
The second thing, that impulse that made my neighbor cross the street to clear my driveway before his, was empathy. He knew I had had this surgery and had vowed to my wife and I that he would be there for me if I needed anything. This is a drive that exists in each of us. Though we don’t always get the chance to follow it, it is so important that when the opportunity arises, we let that drive help us rise to the occasion. Don was there for us when we needed him the most. No hesitation, no mine first attitude, he just came across the street and rescued us.
Sometimes it just takes a little adversity mixed in with a snow storm to help us see those around us as the friends and heroes they are. We had two such people visit us this morning and I will vow to pay it forward. That is once I get rid of these crutches.
As a footnote, I will admit that I missed being out there in the storm showing off my snow blower and being part of the neighborhood snow warriors. But it was a pretty warm and cozy view watching it unfold from my bay window.