Not only did we have bountiful snow this past week, but we also had bountiful needs met by all of the many helping hands and hearts that showed up.
Friends and family members told me stories of neighbors jumping in to help with shoveling, snow blowing, and roof raking. One friend who finds it hard to ask for help was so worried about the deepening snow on the roof that she screwed up her courage and requested to borrow a roof rake—and was happily rewarded when the owners were delighted to be asked.
A driveway that had been cleared became blocked again when the snowplow came through and left a berm. Kids from across the street showed up with shovels and helped dig it out.
After days of shoveling and still not having his long driveway completed, my brother was astonished to look out and find his driveway cleared. Someone showed up, and my brother still doesn’t know who did it.
Another friend was exhausted after digging out her car, and then her neighbor appeared with a snow blower and cleared out her driveway.
And maybe you heard about that Amtrak train stuck in the Oregon mountains for more than 36 hours. Many of the 183 passengers on the train said the ordeal was lightened and brightened by James Lake, a lead service attendant on the train. Lake offered use of his cell phone to anyone who wanted to call out or for people to call in to folks on the train. When diapers ran out, he found washcloths and rounded up safety pins to keep babies dry. He helped create live concerts for kids when he found a musician on board. Some people were scared and panicky, and he sat with them and helped bring calm. He said he mostly “just listened” to people. (We know the magic of listening!) What could have been a very miserable experience turned into a “kumbaya” experience, as one passenger described it.
I loved hearing these heart-warming stories. And I didn’t hear anyone say they were asked about their political or social views before offering or receiving help. Isn’t that a great thing to be reminded of?
Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of Nonviolent Communication, said that one of the most important human needs is helping others, and the recent snow-apocalypse offered example after example of the truth and the joy of that statement.