I suspect that every dog and cat in our neighborhood recognizes ‘Sharon’ and even the car she drives. For about fifteen years, Sharon has left little goodies for our four-legged children in our community. Sometimes she leaves a little toy. Other times she leaves small treats. When she sees someone walking their dog, she usually stops her car, talks to the dog, and asks the dog’s human parent if she can give it a little treat.
An Opportunity to ConnectSharon is a widow. I think she is probably in her mid-eighties. Because we are all needing to “shelter in place,” I don’t think Sharon is connecting with too many people right now. We dropped a little orchid by for her last week just because we were thinking of her. A few days later, she drove over to our house to let us know how much she appreciated the thought. We wanted her to know how much we appreciated her. Even though I wanted to invite Sharon inside for a visit, I wasn’t able to do that because of the risk it involved – especially for her. Instead, we visited on the porch for about ½ hour. My dog, Ranger, took full advantage of Sharon’s visit leaning into her just a bit as she rubbed his back and spoke to him. I asked Sharon if she needed anything from the store or anything else. She didn’t need anyone to run errands for her. I realized what she really needed was a chance to visit – not just a phone visit- but a real visit. She told me that she realized her body was starting to give out on her. “I cannot walk much anymore. I don’t know if I’ll be around much longer.”
A Story to TellSharon has always been a fixture in our neighborhood. I hadn’t thought about the reality that she would not be around forever – of course, none of us well. But our neighborhood angel could likely leave before some of the rest of us. After Sharon drove away, I thought more about this beautiful woman who has been such a positive presence in our community; it struck me that I didn’t know much about her at all. I plan to ask her some questions about her life. I suspect she has some stories to tell. Everyone has a story. Hearing at least a slice of people’s lives is one way to honor who that person is and to learn from their experience. Sharing our lived experiences is also a way we can make sense of our lives and recognize some of the more significant themes that thread through the years like rich veins of gold.