The other day I went to the market. It was a fairly chilly day when I got in the car to head home, and I noticed a bee sitting on my sun-warmed windshield. Coincidentally (or possibly not), I had just been reading about bees. As insects, bees need warmth to keep moving. The bees we see gathering nectar and incidentally pollinating our plants are worker bees. They are all female, and from the moment they hatch, they are working until, at about six weeks, they die.
So here was this bee, so still, sitting on my windshield. What to do? I wasn’t even sure it was alive. I thought, If I drive slowly and it is alive, it will fly away. I started the car and crept over to the exit traffic light. The bee hadn’t moved, but as I sat there waiting for the light to change, her wings fluttered and she started to crawl about on the windshield wiper. And that is when it happened: I absolutely felt compelled to do something for this bee.
When the light changed, I made my turn wide and pulled into a parking lot with landscaping all around. I grabbed a piece of paper, got out of the car, and placed the paper in front of the bee, who climbed onto it. Carefully, I set the paper down among the plants.
Sighing, I got into my car and drove home, a burden lifted. But here’s the thing: I felt like this was something I was meantto do. I knew that had I accelerated to 45 mph, the bee would have been blown away and probably torn apart by the wind. The bee was probably dying. Why was it important that I make this hard-working creature’s last minutes more comfortable?
I’m still thinking about this, obviously. Have you ever felt compelled to do a kind deed, even though it may be risky and will be inconvenient? Have you ever ignored that gut feeling?
Years ago, I saw a boy hitchhiking. Something said, “Pick him up.” I ignored the feeling and drove on. After all, I do not pick up hitchhikers. It is dangerous. However, I have never forgotten that boy. I even pulled over and thought about turning around and getting him, but in the end I drove on. Even as I write this, I am filled with regret.
As it turns out, both John and I had an opportunity to do a kind act today. John was walking Sadie and saw a piece of paper in the street. He picked it up and realized it was a check. Seeing some landscapers, he asked them if it was theirs. It wasn’t. So he went up to a house with Miss Sadie Lu in tow and rang the doorbell. The check belonged to the man who answered the door, and he was quite grateful. When John told me this story, he ended with, “And Sadie didn’t even bark at the man.” Maybe she knew her dad was supposed to do this.
A few days ago, when I was walking Teddy, a woman came up to me and asked me if he was my dog. An odd question, I thought. She then told me that someone in the condo complex had lost a female dachshund-chihuahua mix and she thought Teddy might be the missing canine. To me, it’s obvious Teddy is all doxie and a male, but there was a reason for this strange encounter.
Today was a warm day, and as I was walking Teddy, I decided we should get off the hot street, and so we slipped between two condos to access a lovely shady greenbelt. The first thing I saw was a roadrunner who took one look at us and took off toward the center of the greenbelt as if to point the way. And there, sitting in the shade on a little rise, was a sandy-colored dog that looked like it could be a dachshund-chihuahua mix. It was a good fifty feet from any condo and did not have a leash. The little creature did not move—it just looked at me and Teddy, who was amazingly tolerant. We moved a little closer, and I realized that what I thought was a harness was actually a red sweater. Could this be the lost dog?
Ted and I went out to the street, and because I did not have my phone, I memorized the condo address. We walked briskly to the end of the block and looked back to see if the little dog was still there. It had not moved, so we headed back to our condo. Once there, I quickly called the security guard and relayed the information, ending with, “And the dog had on a sweater. Who puts a sweater on a dog in this heat?”
“Was it red?” the guard asked. The red sweater was the key to a sweet reunion.
Now it is time for the truth. I really did not want to stop and take that bee off my windshield. And I really did not want to end up owning another dog that looked pretty old, because that thought did cross my mind. John did not want to mess around with that check. But we did—and not because we were being kind. It is because we were given an opportunity, and we are grateful because in the doing, we get back so much more than we give …
Teddy and Sadie are staring at me as I finish. Probably, it is because they need to go out, but maybe they are adding an “Amen!” to this little tale they helped me tell.