Sunday, 24 February 2013

The dimming of a day

Many thanks to my lovely friend Frances for the modern parable attached here. At the dimming of a day fraught with petty irritations and draining board disasters, this found me a decent reason to cry. 
Our lives are made up of so many little joys and sadnesses; meaningless dots to others who may not take the time to join them up as they chase other invisible patterns. Inevitably, the dots become fewer for us all; one tiny, random act of kindness can give meaning to someone's bigger picture. It may even help get you round your own page.
I've been listening to Mary Black's cover of "The Dimming of the Day" a lot recently as my own old house splutters more leaks, creaks and cracks; it seems to sit very gently here.

The Cab Ride - 
an awesome reminder of why we're here. 
"I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I walked to the door and knocked.
'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her nineties stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it; like somebody out of a 1940's movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase.
The apartment looked as if no-one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knick-knacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
'Would you please carry my bag out to the car?' she said.
I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the old lady.
She took my arm and we walked out slowly toward the cab. She kept thanking me for my kindness.
'It's nothing,' I told her,
'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated'.
'Oh, you're a good boy' she said.
When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked: 'Could you drive through downtown?'
'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly.
'Oh, I don't mind,' she said, 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.'
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.
'I don't have any family left,' she continued softly, 'I know I don't have very long.'
I quietly reached over and switched the meter off.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived, when they were newlyweds.
She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she danced when she was a girl. Sometimes, she'd ask me to slow down at a particular building or corner, and then stared into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said: 'I'm tired. Let's go now.'
We drove in silence to the address she had given me.
It was a low building, a small convalescent home. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They must have been expecting her.
I took the one small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
'How much do I owe you?' she asked, reaching into her purse.
'You have to make a living,' she said.
'There are other passengers,' I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent to give her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said, 'Thank you.'
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dimming light. Behind me, a door shut. 
It was the sound of the closing of a life.
I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.
What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware; beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. 

People may not remember exactly what it was you did or what you said - but they will always remember how you made them feel." 

"The Dimming of the Day" Mary Black 


  1. Thanks Gisele, got a great lump in my throat now {{Hugs}} xxx

    1. Thanks Chrissie - to someone who always joins up the dots for people xxx

  2. Thank you for a wonderful story Gigi.

    I hope and pray you have a wonderful week.

    God bless.

    1. Thanks Victor - you too. In fact, have a kind and wonderful year! God bless x