Faith in humanity restored, in an avalanche of food

Once again, I find myself surprised over something that really shouldn’t be all that surprising.

You know what I’m talking about, right? Maybe you have someone who continues to disappoint you, but out of the kindness of your heart, you give that person one more chance. Then, inevitably, you are disappointed again, and you somehow find yourself surprised.

Or, you have that sports team that you love with every fiber of your heart, and you just know that this is the year they are finally going to put it all together and win a championship while you bask in the glory. Then, ta-da! They fall face down in flames, and you are left telling yourself that the bad luck can’t continue, and you are just sure they will be scaling great heights next year.

Of course, sometimes, you can find yourself surprised by something good, even though you’ve seen good over and over again, and maybe it’s something you should come to expect.

That’s where I found myself this week.

My mother had a complicated surgery last week — the kind that keeps you in the hospital for several days, and then confines you to bed for several more weeks when you are released. This was not a “routine procedure” by any means, and it was somewhat torturous being far away from her while she was going through all this. Granted, it was probably a little more trying for her than me, but I have the pen, so to speak, so this comes from my point of view.

Regardless, I was able to get away on Saturday and came down to her home, armed with a wife and 17-month-old screaming-machine, to help her around the house for a week. A notorious over-planner by nature, I had a bevy of ideas mapped out for when I got down there: cooking a bunch of meals to store in the freezer, taking care of her dog, running errands, etc.

There was nothing I could do medically for her, I figured, so maybe I could reduce a little bit of stress on her while she recuperated.

The entire eight-hour drive was spent going through all these ideas in my mind. “Poor girl must be feeling so alone and isolated,” I figured. “We’re going to really raise her spirits and make her life easier.”

I pulled into that driveway feeling like a caped crusader, ready to proverbially “save the day.” Then I walked in the front door and I was blown away.

The first thing I saw was flowers. Lots of flowers. It was as if Susan Lyons gained control of my mother’s living room and turned it into a botanical paradise, filled with colors and scents. I heard an animal make a sound and instantly searched for a jaguar or something amongst the foliage.

There was a discernable sense of relief when her dog made her way through the wilderness and greeted us with a bark and a wagging tail.

After a quick visit to her bedroom, I hit the refrigerator for a drink. It was like one of those movies when the kid tells his mother he cleaned his bedroom, then she knowingly opens his closet and is struck by an avalanche of toys and clothes that he crammed in there, thinking he was slick.

But this was food.

Tray after tray after tray of glorious food.

There was pasta and meat, salads and fruits, desserts and breads. I was told that people had been coming and going since she got home, armed with food and flowers to help her through the transition.

I was in shock, and half-covered in saliva, as I examined the glorious display of all things edible that stood before me.

My mom had only retired down here a few years ago, and to see this many people bring her things brought tears to my eyes.

Well, that, and the prospect of getting into all this food.

She was blown away as well. She kept shaking her head and telling us how many people had been by the house, all of them carrying something to help her with the transition. Someone had set up a food schedule, so people could swing by at certain times with a meal and to raise her spirits.

She said she received countless emails, and an enormous pile of cards sat on a table. The calls and letters and food have continued all week, and we have not been the providers we planned to be as much as we’ve been partners in crime in putting down all this food.

Again, I was surprised by the sheer kindness of people.

We get so caught up in all the negativity in the world, and the heinous acts of a few, that it’s sometimes too easy to forget that most people are simply good and want to help where they can.

We see that big chair outside Justin’s Beach House, or the amazing stage at Bayside, and it’s a reminder of how people can pull together for a common cause. This week has reminded me that good is being done every single day.