Hope in the midst of the loneliness
He lives alone. Old, retired and on lockdown during the COVID-19 virus outbreak. He resides in the United Kingdom in the vast city of London. Life can be lonely as the world hurries and rushes by and an old gentleman is easily ignored as if he does not exist. But he does exist. He lives simply and the daily routine of going for a walk and stopping by the local market for supplies is an event he looks forward to.
He takes in the beauty of trees that line the streets in his neighbourhood and observes how they change with the seasons. In the local park, he can sit a while on a bench and simply breathe. He smiles at the antics of the birds and the squirrels. The daffodils in spring are just breath-taking. A feast to make ones senses dance with the joy of life. He quietly gives thanks to those who tend the grounds and mow the lawns and frowns upon the carelessness of those who dump litter and empty whiskey bottles in a place he considers sacred. A haven and rest for his soul.
Now, for many weeks he has not been able to enjoy this simple daily routine. He must remain indoors and the closest he can get to the beauty of life that surrounds him is through the little window of his little residence. The views from the window keep him sane as he longs for the day he can once again indulge in his ‘luxury’ of a daily walk. He walks around his little flat many times each day to keep his limbs moving and takes extra care with cleaning routines.
Once a week a kind soul knocks on his door and delivers simple necessities for life. No time for a chat though, there are many others just like him who wait for their delivery. Looking into the eyes of the carer, he knows that there is a smile, even though their mouth is covered and the distance is kept. He understands. He sighs. Who would have thought that such a life of isolation would ever be forced on humanity that they may simply exist? For such living is not living, it is simply existing. Even so, he greets each new day with a hopeful idea; he wonders if today will be the day when he can open his door, put on his protective gear and walk again outside where nature shouts with joy and remains faithful to its existence. He just really misses the company of nature.
The day eventually does arrive! With a slightly more lively step, he goes about his routine, puts on his protective clothing and just relishes in the air that surrounds. As he passes the trees, he has this urge to go up to them and to give them a ‘I missed you’ hug. But resists the temptation. Instead, he stops now and again and simply rests beneath their canopy and soaks in their life and majesty.
It is along a narrow path that he spots a little dog. He beckons it to come, but it cannot, for it suffers an injury and is malnourished. Speaking gently, he carefully picks the creature up. He cringes at its thin body and notices the injured leg. He is filled with such compassion for this little life, that there and then he makes a decision. ‘I don’t have much to offer, but I will help you as best I can.’ He nurses the dog to healing and shares daily food, water and shelter. This act of sharing life with another soul gives him much pleasure.
One day the dog walks with him but disappears. After much calling and searching, he gives up and goes home. But he looks out for his companion all the time or listens for a familiar bark or whine. He is saddened because he had grown very fond of the creature. He concludes that maybe the dog found his way back to his original owner.
Three days after this event he opens his door to go out for his daily walk and is greeted by the dog, waiting for him. Only not alone; the dog has brought along another injured dog. He takes them both indoors and begins caring for the new injured dog and shares the joy of his reunion with his first adopted canine friend. So his life improved. He found that helping others makes life so much more worthwhile.
Even today, you can see him still. Walking what many would call the lesser part of London, accompanied by two cheerful and very faithful dogs. A just reward for an old man who was mostly ignored by humans but needed by two injured souls. Life is so much more than just an existence. One way to ensure mental health is to take pity on and give assistance to another. We all can do something and be someone for another life. A life shared is quite simply the best way to live it.
African Blessings Missions Director