Tag Archives: Acts of kindness

No good deed goes unpunished.

broken-eggs

When the girls rang the doorbell, they heard Mrs. Henry shout, “Go Away.”

“Mrs. Henry,” Amber yelled through the door. “It’s Laura and Amber. We came to see if you need any help.”

“Come on in,” She yelled back. As the girls opened the door, they heard her say, “Might as well. You already woke me up.” The wrinkled condition of Mrs. Henry’s house dress told Amber and Laura that she really had been sleeping.  Her thin white hair was piled up on her head so that it looked like a giant spider had woven its web there.

“How are you feeling?” Laura asked, trying not to react to her appearance.

“I have a broken hip. How do you think I feel?”

“We were very sorry to hear about your accident.” Amber hoped she sounded sincere. “How did it happen?”

“It’s a long story,” Mrs. Henry sighed. Amber and Laura were sure it would be.

“I was late for my Bridge game and I had my arms full of old clothes I was taking to the thrift store. The gravel in my driveway was loose. I wish I had a cement driveway, but Mr. Henry said we couldn’t afford cement so we had to have gravel. Anyway, the gravel was loose and my feet started slipping. I tried to grab a hold of my car door, but I kept slipping. The next thing I knew, I was down on the gravel. I probably would have lain there until I died, but Doris Duncan came by to check on me when I didn’t show up at the Bridge game. At least I have one person who cares a little about what happens to me. She called for an ambulance and they took me to the hospital. The doctor ordered an x-ray and said I have a broken hip. The next day, I had surgery. They put me in rehab for three weeks, and now I’m supposed to take care of myself. I can get around some in my wheelchair, but no one cares if I starve to death.”

“We care, “Laura assured her. “What can we do for you?”

“You can go to the store and buy me some things that I can cook myself from the wheelchair.”

“We’d be happy to do that,” Amber managed a smile. “Do you have a list?”

“I just need eggs, bread, milk and coffee. Can’t you remember that without a list?”

            “Of course we can,” Laura smiled. “We’ll go to the store right now and be back before you know it.”

            “Sure you will,” Mrs. Henry sounded doubtful. “Here’s some money. Don’t lose it.”

            Laura and Amber jumped on their bikes and raced down the street toward the market. Laura had tucked Mrs. Henry’s money safely in her pocket. After they located all of the items in the store, they went to the checkout counter where Margaret, the clerk, rang up their purchases.

Amber put the milk and bread in the basket of her bike. Laura took the eggs and coffee. They rode back as fast as they could, knowing that Mrs. Henry would be annoyed if they took too long. Just as they were turning the corner onto Hope Street, a large yellow dog ran out in front of them. Amber managed to miss the dog, but when Laura tried to swerve around him, she lost control of her bike. With a loud crash, she landed on the pavement, the back wheel of her bike still spinning around. Amber ran to help her up. That’s when she saw the raw egg spilled on the pavement.

“Are there any unbroken ones?” Laura asked as Amber opened the carton.

“Only two,” Amber said. “Are you all right?”

“I’ll be fine,” Laura sighed, “But what are we going to do about the eggs?”

Just then Amber realized they were on Betty Jenkins’ street. Amber and Laura knocked forcefully on Betty’s door.

            “What’s wrong?” Betty asked when she saw the panic on their faces.

            “We were shopping for Mrs. Henry, and we broke the eggs,” Laura explained.

            “It wasn’t our fault,” Amber added. “A dog ran out in front of us.”

            “Don’t worry,” Betty said, calmly. “It was just an accident. We’ll think of something. Let me see if I have a dozen eggs in my refrigerator.”

            “We just need ten,” Laura said. “Two of them didn’t break.”

            “I’ve only got six,” Betty told them after checking her refrigerator. “Let’s go across the street to Doris’s house and see if she can spare four eggs.”

            “What took you so long? Did you have to milk a cow?” Mrs. Henry fumed as the girls came through the door with her groceries.

            After they had put away Mrs. Henry’s groceries, Laura asked if there was anything else they could do for her.

            “Not today,” she said, “but come back on Wednesday. I’m going to need you then.”

            “You’re welcome,” Amber said when they got outside.

            “You didn’t expect her to thank us, did you?” Laura asked.

            “Of course not.” Amber laughed “Those words aren’t in her vocabulary.” 

From The Handy Helpers: Seven is a Perfect Number, available from Amazon

Kindness is Contagious

no act of kindnessWe have all met people who, in spite of our best efforts, remain difficult to deal with. For the Handy Helpers, that person is Agnes Henry.

Laura and Amber are asked to help Mrs. Henry who is recovering from a broken hip. The girls have had previous experiences with Mrs. Henry and know what they are in for.

“‘Mrs. Henry!’ Amber yelled through the door. ‘It’s Laura and Amber. We came to see if you need any help.’

‘Come on in!’ she yelled back. As the girls opened the door, they heard her say, ‘Might as well. You already woke me up.’ The wrinkled condition of Mrs. Henry’s housedress told Amber and Laura that she really had been sleeping. Her thin white hair was piled up on her head so that it looked like a giant spider had woven its web there.

‘How are you feeling?’ Laura asked, trying not to react to her appearance.

‘I have a broken hip. How do you think I feel?’

‘We were very sorry to hear about your accident.’ Amber hoped she sounded sincere. ‘How did it happen?’

‘It’s a long story,’ Mrs. Henry sighed. Amber and Laura were sure it would be.”

When the girls return to help Mrs. Henry the following week, they take Beth Anne with them. Beth Anne has heard the horror stories about Mrs. Henry and she is reluctant to go, but finally decides that she will be brave.

“Beth Anne remained behind her friends as they knocked on the door at Mrs. Henry’s. Laura and Amber were surprised when the door was opened by a woman who looked like Mrs. Henry, only younger, with dark-brown hair cut in a short bob that framed her cheerful face.

‘We’re here to see Mrs. Henry,’ Laura explained. ‘We’re Handy Helpers. She asked us to come today.’

‘Who is it?’ they heard Mrs. Henry call from inside the house.

‘It’s some little girls, Mom,’ the other woman called back. ‘They said they’re Handy Helpers.’

‘Oh, I forgot I told them to come today.’ Mrs. Henry rolled up in her wheelchair. ‘My daughter Clara is here so I guess you can just go home.’

‘Mom!’ Clara sounded shocked. ‘At least invite them in.’

‘Why? I don’t need any help with you here.'”

Of course, the Handy Helpers do come in, along with Beth Anne. After a short visit, Mrs. Henry goes to her room, claiming to be tired. Laura and Amber remain in the kitchen, talking to Clara, who is concerned about her mother. No one notices that Beth Anne has left, but when they look for her, they find her sitting on Mrs. Henry’s bed, brushing her hair.

‘See,’ Beth Anne was saying, ‘your hair looks just like it did in your picture. It’s so beautiful.’

Mrs. Henry was holding an old photograph in one hand and a mirror in the other hand. ‘No it doesn’t,’ she said. ‘My hair used to be such a lovely dark brown. Mr. Henry loved my brown hair.’

‘But now it looks just like a cloud,’ Beth Anne said sweetly.”

The relationship between Beth Anne and Mrs. Henry continues to develop as Beth Anne encourages Mrs. Henry to get out of the wheelchair and walk. Beth Anne finds a walker that her grandfather used stored in the garage. She brings the walker to Mrs. Henry who after some struggles is able to use it.

Ironically, later in the book, Beth Anne falls and suffers a broken leg. Mrs. Henry sits by her bed every day while Beth Anne is in the hospital. When Beth Anne is home with a cast on her leg, Mrs. Henry shows up with the very same walker. It is Mrs. Henry’s encouragement that gets Beth Anne out of the wheelchair and back on her feet.

The Handy Helpers book series is available at Amazon

 

Jesus has no hands but ours.

prayingYou’ve probably heard the old joke about a man who found himself stranded on his roof during a flood. Some neighbors come by in a canoe and try to help him but the man remains on the roof. “I prayed to God and he will save me,” the man insists. As the water continues to rise, a rescue boat approaches. Again the man declines assistance. Instead he states firmly that God will save him. Just before the waters reach the top of his roof, a helicopter appears. Once again the man refuses to be rescued. At last he is overcome by the flood waters and drowns. In heaven, he asks God, “I prayed so fervently, and believed that you would keep me safe. Why did you let me drown?”  God’s reply, “I sent you a canoe, a rescue boat and a helicopter. Each time you refused my help.”

Obviously, the man failed to recognize God’s mercy offered through the hands of others.  Of course a rational person would eagerly accept any help that was offered in an emergency such as a flood. But how often do we pray and pray to God when we are faced with a difficult situation and then refuse help from friends and neighbors. No one wants to be a burden, but by accepting help from others, we are allowing them to carry out God’s will.

So many times, we are called upon to pray for the needs of others and of course we do so willingly knowing that God answers prayer. We are told in the Matthew 18:19, “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.” Clearly, the power of prayer is amplified by the number of people praying. As well, the power is amplified in the mind of the person being prayed for. There is great solace in knowing that others are praying for us.

That God answers prayer is something every Christian knows from first-hand experience. We all have in our memories circumstances when the Holy Spirit was so obviously present at a time of great need. But we must be open to the call of the Holy Spirit in our lives if we are to be the instruments through which prayers are answered. If, as happened last week, my neighbor who is ill asks me to go to the store for her, it is obvious what I am being called upon to do. But sometimes our role is less obvious and even unknown to us. It might be in the form of a smile or kind word to a stranger who is having difficulties. We may never know the effect we have on situations we are unwittingly a party to, but God knows and so do those who receive our help.

Growing up, I had the perfect example of Christian charity in my grandmother. She was always willing to help anyone in need. She cared for my grandfather who was in a wheelchair as far back as I remember. Even with that responsibility, she would come to the aid of sick neighbors or anyone who needed her help. At my grandmother’s funeral, my aunt Billie told this story that illustrates my grandmother’s kindness to others. Aunt Billie had a blinding headache. She called my grandmother, her mother-in-law, and told her how badly her head hurt. “Could you go to the store and get me some aspirin?” Billie asked.

“Oh, you poor thing!” my grandmother said. “Of course I’ll get you some aspirin. I’ll do it right away. Who is this?”

We never know when we will be called upon to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We must be open to the needs of others and bold in our willingness to do as we are asked to do.