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'It's true, you know - in giving, we receive. We don't have to struggle alone.'

Tom CookI was returning home from a fire call in my marked chaplain van when I stopped at the four-way in front of Harvey Clarke Elementary School. It was then that I noticed an elderly couple walking down the B Street sidewalk.

The old fella was having trouble balancing himself as the woman was holding on to his arm. He would hold on to the fence, shuffling along until he got to the next drive way. There he would pause, rest, and then totter across to the next fencepost. It looked like he could fall at any moment.

I pulled up alongside and asked if I could be of assistance. You should have seen the relief on this lady's face!

"Oh, yes, would you?"

Of course. We got him in the front seat and her in the back. I introduced myself, and they told me who they were and where they lived. They were still four blocks from their home. It was a nice day, she said, and they decided to go for a walk. But they went too far and were now struggling to get back. She had left her cellphone at the house. And she said she was surprised that no one had stopped earlier to help.

After dropping them off, I thought about that. Husband and wife of many, many years clearly struggling to walk along. I smiled. That's why I stopped.

Perhaps this is a metaphor for life. We begin to enjoy life — beautiful days — but somehow, we lose track of where we are in life. And we find ourselves struggling to make it back home. And then someone stops to lend a hand.

A cup of cold water. A hearty handshake. A kind word. It doesn't take much.

It's true, you know — in giving, we receive. We don't have to struggle alone. Now that is something to think about!

Tom Cook is the volunteer chaplain for the Forest Grove Police Department and Forest Grove Fire & Rescue.


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