It was after midnight. I’d just crawled into bed and was snuggled up with one of my cats and was all comfy under the goose down comforter when the phone started ringing. Of course, the phone was in the living room. I considered not answering it, but I figured it if was Ma, she’d drive up to my house to find out why I wasn’t answering. Cold air assaulted me as I climbed out of bed and stumbled into the living room to stop the persistent ringing.
It was Ma. She said, “Sugar Dumpling, Lindy May’s house is burning down.” Seriously, that was the sentence. How does one process such news? Me? I stood in the middle of the living room shivering and shaking my head.
“What do you mean her house is burning down?” Yes, I realize there’s only one thing that sentence can mean, but it was so surreal I couldn’t get my mind around it. It meant my aunt and uncle’s house was on fire.
I threw on some clothes, hurried down to Ma’s, picked her up and we drove the back roads of Booger County to get to my aunt and uncle’s house.
Lord have mercy. Fire engines surrounded the house, lights flashing. Normally, the sight of big, strapping firemen weakens my knees. That night, the sight made my stomach roil. I couldn’t believe it. The beautiful home of two of the kindest, most generous and selfless people I’ve ever known was ablaze. Fortunately, my aunt and uncle made it out of the house safely, as did the cat.
The days following the tragedy confirmed my belief in karma. You see, my aunt and uncle are givers. No matter who it is or what the reason, they are there helping those in need. Always. So when tragedy struck them, folks rallied. Because my cousins were busy helping with the aftermath of the fire, folks called me wanting to know what they could do to help. Money, clothes, household goods, food. Folks wanted to repay my aunt and uncle’s kindness over the years, wanted to provide heaps and piles of replacement items.
I wasn’t surprised by the outpouring of support for them because my aunt and uncle are wonderful people. What surprised me was the number of people who had never met them who wanted to help. It’s a giant circle of love. Yeah, I know, that sounds corny, but it’s true. Friends of my cousins want to help because they love my cousins. My friends want to help because they love me. My mom’s friends want to help because they love my mom. My other brother, Darryl’s friends want to help because they love him. One giant circle of love with my aunt and uncle at the nucleus.
Kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity.
Bigotry, hatefulness, stinginess.
What you send out into the universe comes back to you. Wouldn’t you like to be the nucleus of a circle of love?