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“when men sow the wind it is rational to expect that they will reap the whirlwind.”
If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it. – Lucy Larcom
she came flying in, like a whirlwind, hurricane esmerelda, her 5 small children in tow. the weather had taken a sudden turn for the worse, putting forth a tremendous downpour and winds and thunder and lightning. we were meeting at a store to buy winter clothing for her family. as part of a local program, warm the children, members of my community meet others who are in more challenging circumstances, and through donations, we are able to get together to purchase what is needed for their children.
when we had tried to speak on the phone, it was clear esmerelda only spoke spanish, and i enlisted the help of our school spanish teacher to set up the meeting. i brought a friend who had visited nicaragua and had a bit of spanish in her pocket, along with her daughter, who was at my very basic level of speaking spanish. i imagined that we all would figure it out and somehow accomplish our mission.
she had somehow gone to the wrong store and was late and worried, and rushed over when we figured out what happened. the children were all quite young, one still small enough to sit in the seat of the cart. only one of the children spoke a bit of english and as we made our way through boots, hats, mittens, snow pants, coats and jammies, my friend somehow was able to call up her ’emergency spanish’ and helped when we had a question. her daughter was able to help some of the children to make choices and find sizes and luckily, i could remember colors and numbers in spanish. (even though i slipped into french at times)
somehow we were able to find all that we needed for each of them, filling two carts, and the children happily picked out clothes in the colors they liked. the only boy in the family, lit up with a smile when shown spiderman mittens, and the girls helped each other try on and make final choices. they were very well behaved through it all, and it was easy to see that each of them had taken on a role of responsibility for themselves and each other at an age way before most children would ever have to.
we kept everyone moving, making sure we didn’t lose anyone along the way, and before we knew it, we were checked out and headed outside. a tornado watch had been issued and it somehow seemed appropriate with all of the energy we had whipped up on this shopping trip. we helped the family back to their van, keeping an eye on the gaggle of young children, and as we left, we hugged and said adios, all with tears in our eyes and smiles on our faces. it was a wonderful morning.
A warm smile is the universal language of kindness. William Arthur Ward