The other day, I ran into my neighbor Matthew Sporzynski in the elevator. When he asked how I was doing, I let slip that I was on my way to way to have a scary test to check out my heart. “I’m sure it’ll be fine” I said, betraying my nervousness.
After several hours of Fringe-like tests involving isotopes in a freezing room, I wobbled home to find a white cardboard take-out container outside my apartment door. Inside was a cobalt-blue lens box that said SCHNEIDER (my name). Four key rings were nestled in it, each with a tag printed in French: APPARTEMENT, ATELIER, LETTRES, and RESIDENCE SECONDAIRE. There was a red leather cat collar with a bell – an unexpected bracelet – and an orange business card said “Couturier de Cardboard”, which meant the gift was from Matthew, who is an amazing paper artist with a rare sensibility.
Matthew’s gift had the effect of taking me out of my worried, tired head in an instant (while inspiring a sweet, momentary fantasy of an atelier and a residence secondaire.) It said, in the most un-Hallmark way possible: ”Someone is thinking about you and hopes you feel better.” And sure enough, I did feel better.
It reminded me of the times when I wasn’t sure how to respond to the dire need of another: a friend dealing with cancer or a loved-one dying. And I remembered a little book I saw recently called Do Good: 201 Ways to Lend a Hand read more…