I get lost easily.
In this world of satnav and Google maps it seems that this feat should be impossible. However, I must confess, it still happens to me on a regular basis.
So, when my Mum and I went for a walk towards the Frances Pit recently and given our history of heading to Edinburgh and ending up in Glasgow, I shouldn’t have been surprised.
Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t a complete disaster, we saw the winding gear but couldn’t find the path to get to it until eventually we found ourselves in the middle of an industrial estate. We thought we got lucky when we found a path only to discover it belonged to a farmer and we were not only on his land but also in the next village.
Then it started raining.
Not tiny spring droplets but a full shower. Then the hailstones said hello.
Sheltering behind a van my Mum pulled out her mobile determinedly and phoned my Dad to get ‘directions’.
Then all I heard was “Gary, it’s snowing, you’ll need to come and get us.”
It wasn’t snowing.
Ten minutes later, en-route we were picked up by my Dad who stopped the car and just shook his head at us, as he has done many times before.
I suggested we go a coffee and five minutes we were sitting with lattes and sausage rolls enjoying breakfast together.
Looking out over the now sunny harbour and a lone elderly man walking his dog. My Dad, the original storyteller, told a story of a man who phoned while whilst he was volunteering for a charity helpline on a Saturday night many years ago. He called not because he had a particular problem but because he simply wanted to talk.
That morning he had won two tickets for the Brandenburg concertos in Vienna through a competition.
And that night, at 10.30pm, he phoned a charity helpline because he had no one else to tell.
My Dad, the original alpha male, got emotional as he said;
“You know, you could have phoned about 20 people to pick you up today but some people don’t have anyone.”
Looking at my parents and thinking of my family and friends, I realised just how blessed I am.
I have a home, the means to look after myself, a passion for writing and most importantly I have people who care for me and thinking of that man I wanted to cry myself as I realised that some people aren’t as lucky.
So sometimes, lost in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.
It’s about honouring yourself and those around you by showing a kindness. By taking a minute just to speak to a stranger because you may just be the only person they speak to that day.
This has sown a seed within me and I want this to grow, because maybe by being kind to just one person we can foster a world where someone doesn’t have to call a charity helpline to share their good news.
When I was dropped off, I opened my mail and knowing that actions speak louder than words I contacted the Salvation Army who work with the homeless and the lonely and arranged a monthly donation to help their work.
We can all make a difference to someone else.
We just need to believe that we can.
So, if I could leave you with one parting wish, I would like it to be this; count your blessings and celebrate the your family and friends even those who were once strangers.
I just did.