Reaching out to another person isn’t crazy

Published 11:03 pm Wednesday, August 29, 2007

By Staff
My column has struck some nerves lately – good ones.
One reader felt so connected she said she did a "crazy thing." She invited me to lunch.
Well I must be crazy too because I went and had a wonderful time.
Jeanne Wing of Niles had written me:
"I believe we are kindred spirits. Every time I read your column I feel as if I have spent time with an old friend. On several occasions I have wanted to e-mail you to thank you for something you wrote. One piece that moved me was the one where you bared your soul about the pain in your past in the hopes that it might be of help to someone experiencing a similar situation. I admire you for that.
"Most of the time I enjoy being reminded of a simpler time when home and hearth were treasured and we weren't in such a hurry. As far as I can tell we are pretty close in age, although I believe you are a few years older than me." (I am)
"I just had to tell you that I still wear aprons, use cloth napkins, serving dishes, tablecloths, and doilies. (By the way, you can get cloth napkins at Burlington Coat Factory for 50 cents each from the sale bin!)
"When I pack a picnic I use the lovely antique linens I pick up at garage sales. My favorite sales are ones put on by elderly ladies. They usually have beautiful kitchen items in perfect condition. You can quickly spot a sale that is run by an elderly woman by the tablecloths she uses on her display tables.
"I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy the walks down memory lane. I'd also like to offer you a little old-fashioned hospitality. If you're ever free for lunch and would like to visit with a kindred spirit, feel free to call me. I'll pull out the china, make a pot of homemade soup and some yeast rolls, and maybe even throw in some of my killer cream puffs."
Well the cream puffs were killers and the soup was delicious.
But what this woman offered me was much more important than lunch.
It is rare that we are able to connect with our readers. Our columns are sent out into hyperspace and we really don't know if they are being read. Do the readers agree or are touched? Do they think we are crazy or like them?
Jeanne offered me a peaceful hour of pleasant companionship. Two souls talking about our kids, grandkids, problems in the world and our lives.
I remember back when I used to walk over to a friend's third floor walkup apartment, when I was newly married with one child.
A group of us, all young mothers, would visit and take turns making lunches.
As the years passed, the children grew and my friends took on full-time jobs, the lunches dwindled to rare occasions.
I hadn't realized how much I have missed these times with other women.
Our lives are so busy I am glad there are still a few people like Jeanne who take time to think about others.
As the wife of Pastor Jim Wing of the First Baptist Church in Niles, she takes time to reach out to others, whether by lunches with real tablecloths and napkins or by sending a thinking of you card.
What a difference we all could make if we just took a little time in our busy week to call someone we know who lives alone and is unable to get out.
We could take some soup over to someone who has been ill.
The good feelings we will get will far overwhelm the amount of time we took to do the action.
We could all learn something from Jeanne. I am so glad she is crazy.