Recently we had another snow storm and it seems they just keep coming. One of my problems is I have several retail properties and my tenants are upset because their customers can no longer patronize them. There are limited parking spaces due to the piles of snow. Well, I got up about 6am in the last storm and decided I would fix the problem. As luck would have it my big truck blew its trans and it is the only truck I have large enough to tow my tractor. My tractor was stored about 30 miles to the west of the retail properties affected the worst. I called several tow companies to see if they could move my tractor and they were all too busy to run out of their area. So I decided to drive the tractor the 30 miles through the back roads. Keep in mind it has no cab so it is like sitting on the hood of your car and driving, a little chilly. Also it is not registered for the road, but I figured the roads are so bad the police would see me as a person cleaning things up and not care, also if you have had cancer twice and currently fighting, you really see things differently, what can they do, put me in a warm cell for a few hours at the very worst, kind of beats being 120 pounds and throwing up 20 times a day with all the other pains that go with fighting cancer.
So off I went at a blistering 10 miles per hour, on the flat, up hills more like 6 miles per hour. As my Dad taught me when we went duck hunting together as a kid “it is better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it,” boy that was beat into me as a kid and has that come in handy through every aspect of life. Thanks to Dad I brought food, extra clothing and water. It was not long before I was freezing and I stopped and put on more clothes I had stashed in a 5 gallon pale with a lid tied to the back of the tractor.
I knew this was a trip I did not have the health for and certainly to get there and move snow piles all day was not a smart thing for my physical health (I am still paying for it), but I also knew this last cancer took some of the man out of me and taking care of my families estate was good for the mind and sole.
I pulled out of the driveway and started on my journey. Funny thing about 10 or 7 miles an hour you get to see things you never saw before. I plotted the course on as many back roads as I could. My trip took me towards Berkeley Heights as it was the smartest rout. I figured if I could visualize a halfway point the second half would be all downhill (figuratively speaking) and easier to handle. As it turned out that point was at an old girlfriend’s house from when I was 15 and 16 years old. I was very much in love with her and I walked to her house many times, a trip of about 15 miles, coincidently the properties I own are in the same area as I use to live. So once I got to her house it was all downhill. Guys, you will understand this, the young lady was very attractive and the trip was always worth the walk so it seemed short.
The first few miles were all about settling in. I past many people shoveling and we seemed to have a common plight for the moment, big houses, small houses rich and middle class we all smiled and waved at one another . Some looked longingly as to ask for help. I knew I had a long day ahead of me so I passed, they looked fit and capable. Then it came to mind ‘what if I pass a woman with an insurmountable task before her, would I be able to pass her by’. Immediately I tried to tailor my rout to go by as few houses as I could.
A few dogs chased me and some were so cut I pulled over and they licked me and I rubbed them all up. I don’t think I hugged that many dogs in one day in my life. It was a welcome break for me from the cold wind as it was a great moment for them to have caught a vehicle and stopped it.
In the distance I saw a lady bending over shoveling. I thought to myself, well here it is. Sure enough her driveway was at least 300 maybe 350 feet long and here ranch house set up on a hill. She had a shovel that was 3 feet long and made for a kid. She had a mountain of snow at the street where the county plows went by and she had an area about 10 ft. by 10 ft. cleared, she was standing there facing the house and I could see the breath being pumped out of her lungs in the cold air.
So here it was the situation I was trying to avoid, I stopped, thinking to myself, all I need is half a dozen of these and my day is shot. I motioned for her to move and she put her hands together as if to prey. In I went, first to open her driveway from the street and then up the hill to push downward. Well long story short, there was a ditch on either r side of the driveway and the driveway was mud and partially stoned. I finally cleared it after about 45 minutes and I managed to get stuck in the ditch on one side then the other, it was a mess. All she kept doing was blessing me ‘which I can use all I can get’. So finally I finished and she tried to stop me from leaving and pay me and of course I took a few more blessings and went on my way. Funny thing about that 45 minutes, I could not get what a friend of mine said to me once (Michel M,) he said his father told him that “no good turn goes unpunished.” While I was cleaning her driveway and getting stuck I occasionally would break into laughter, the lady must have thought I was nuts, but I could not get that thought out of my mind.
Anyway I went on for the rest of my trip and finished the day by clearing my retail parking lots and getting home about 10 pm and very, very shot.
The thought that I take away from that day is this, I know and you know that our lives are so busy it is hard to reach out, hard to commit to things not related to our needs, but just maybe there is a connection between being successful in the 5 riches of life (see Life’s Rules For Success for clarification of 5 riches) and reaching out when you feel you have no business doing so, when you know it will alter your day and cause more pressure. Hell anyone can help when they have time. I think there is a link concerning giving, it makes our lives fuller and happier, helping others when it hurts us. There is no question my day could have gone very badly. I could have had a breakdown, could have been given a ticket and had my unregistered tractor impounded, I could have gotten very sick on the trip and a number of other things could have happened. Fact is the day went as good as possible and little things even got better. My tractor had an electrical problem that I have been unable to fix and the lights failed to work and the glow plugs also were not functioning properly. I knew I could fix it in a shop, but the cold made it hard to find the problem for the last month. About 8 pm that night while I was moving the snow piles off the Verizon store parking lot everything lit up. The lights went on, the glow plug indicator worked and the tractor was 100% again. Look I am not saying God came down and fixed my tractor, but I do believe things happen in life, they are either good or bad. You see things do not know if they are good or bad, but people who reach out in spite of their circumstances attract good things.
Personally I am a God fearing man, but I feel more comfortable believing there is a natural order of things set down, that is balanced to reward and comfort or punish. There has to be some reason for me to be here after all my health problems. I know I am a little delusional and really in my heart of hearts believe I never had any sickness, my body did not me. It is fare to say I have spend my life reaching out to others and I think I have been rewarded. Some will argue how I could perceive my illnesses as a reward. I guess they would have to know me better.
So here we are, busier than ever in this crazy world, fighting harder than ever to make emotional, social and financial ends meet to name a few, and I can say from years of reading and observation, reach out and your problems will be less your joys will be greater and life will get better, expect nothing for your efforts and you will be rewarded time and time again and never count, it is not a game of scoring.
Remember I mentioned my friend Michel M. who shared those words of wisdom “no good turn goes unpunished” well I have observed great charity from him and from his entire family. They get the immediate observations, but they understand the bigger picture.
So even if things go bad keep on giving of your help, it is just a test of integrity and after all what other reason could we all be here for if it was not to serve our loved ones and those we are about to know and love.