“Love thy neighbour”. Well, you certainly did that! And then some. A neighbour you’ve never even met. A neighbour on the other side of the world in Cornwall in the UK. Your collective heart went out – on an amazing adventure that inadvertently resulted in the most extraordinary kindness.
What happened has become a wonderful window on our world showing the power of small acts arising from this gorgeous group. A group that’s somehow bringing meaning to so many in this maelstrom we find ourselves in.
A few days ago, I had simply posted on here about seeing my 96 year old next door neighbour’s deck through my window. A lovely deck Thelma couldn’t actually get to because of a few steps she could no longer get down. Thelma being prevented from getting outside then led to hundreds of good wishes and valuable suggestions of how to make things better for her.
Before I knew it, there was even an accompanying hashtag to #FreeThelma followed by local offers of real world help to set Thelma free when the lockdown is finally over. Within hours you also suggested setting up a fundraising page to buy any necessary materials – and within days, the target was reached. Boom!
I cannot thank everyone enough for showing the immense power of reaching out to others. For proving that hope and love are the true guiding stars that will give us the strength to get through anything, including this crisis. Especially if we do it together.
My now infamous neighbour Thelma is understandably gobsmacked by what’s happened. She’s a deeply humble woman but one who has travelled the world in the Navy in years gone by. A woman who thought she’d seen it all. A woman who had been having to wind down and accept her world had become smaller.
Through this, though, that big exciting world suddenly came back to her doorstep through the sheer kindness of global strangers. Thelma will now get her ramp and, hopefully, make her way onto her deck to at last smell the fresh air and catch her beautiful river view up close – in a way she hasn’t done in years. All thanks to you.
When I first told Thelma she was becoming an unexpected global superstar she obviously thought I was joking. She was immensely touched. She then said, “Oh I hope I don’t die before this happens, I really don’t want to let people down!” I’ve now told Thelma she can’t possibly go anywhere just yet – apart from onto her deck when the work is finally complete.
However long any of our remaining lifetimes end up being, I for one hope to be able to post a photo one day very soon of Thelma sipping a cocktail on that deck. Even if she doesn’t drink cocktails!? I want to drink a toast to all those hundreds of people on here who simply shared a few minutes of their day to want the very best for a stranger. A few minutes is all it takes to make a difference in ways that we often can’t predict. That’s what this story shows for me. And it feels like a beautiful example of how things could be when we do all indeed love our neighbour. All the Thelmas of this world – all our neighbours.
Much love and thanks to my fellow window gazers for the heartening hope. Keep opening those windows – and those wonderfully gorgeous hearts ?
Debbie Geraghty is a passionate advocate for creativity and equality. An introduction to her activities is available here.