Phillips: Kindness can bring us to our knees
Have you ever bitten off more than you could chew?
I’m not talking about the Christmas ham — I’m talking about a project you thought you could handle, but couldn’t. That’s what happened to Oscar Bergos from Moorhead, Minn.
Luckily, kindness pulled up to save the day.
“About 15 years ago, I had a cottage out near Detroit Lakes, Minn. Although I was never recognized as a carpenter, I was capable of doing some carpentry work. I decided to build a large two-stall garage by myself, with no assistance.
"With all the confidence in the world, I started the excavation for the cement floor. Next came pouring the pea rock for drainage. Then, the rebar was laid down. At this point, I was quite proud of my accomplishments.
"The next thing to do was call the ready-mix place in the neighboring town. They said they would deliver the cement the following day at about 3 p.m. I had the evening to think about my accomplishments and what the activity would be the next day.
"Now came some thoughts (worries) as to doing the troweling for that large cement floor. I was very aware of what that involved since I had worked on a crew as a youth. I would be on my knees for several hours. That doesn’t sound too tough, does it? The problem was that I had both knees replaced about three years prior. I started to think that just maybe it would be painful for me. Could I do it?
"The more I thought about it, the more I thought that perhaps I was pretty stupid to think I could handle the whole job alone. Oh well, as my father used to say, ‘If you make your own bed, you better be ready to lie in it.'
"Noon came on delivery day. Then 1 o’clock. Then 2 o’clock. I was starting to sweat with an hour to go before the cement arrival.
"Then, the unbelievable happened. A friend named Lloyd drove into the yard. He stepped out of his car with a cement trowel in hand. He said, ‘I thought you could use a little help.’ I couldn’t believe it!
"Then another car drove into the yard. Out stepped my friend, Ike, again with his trowel. He said, ‘We figured you might need some help.’ At that point, I realized my friends had a better idea of what my knees could handle than I did.
"The cement mix came, and my friends started to work. My job was to supervise the project. The floor was put down that day, troweled nicely and looked great. To this day, that floor is as smooth as silk and has no cracks. The strange thing about what happened was that I hadn’t told Ike or Lloyd when I would be ready to do the floor.”
Kindness sure does show up when we need it. Sometimes it brings us to our knees — and sometimes it keeps us off of them.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips, a former Fargo television anchor, is a speaker, author and host of The Kindness Podcast. She lives in Athens, Ohio, with her three children and her husband, Ohio University Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.