My darling son Monkey Butt has always pointed out that there is a difference between doing well and doing good… Superman does good, people are doing well. Because words have always been a thing with me (thank you to Miss Stuck my 9th grade English teacher) I work really hard (at lease in my head) at getting words correct. Yes, I am probably mentally correcting your grammar. Yes, when you use the wrong homonym it makes my head hurt. Yes, I know that aint is in the dictionary… I still have a hard time using and accepting it.
That is why, when a dear friend of mine recently told me that I’m doing good, I had to mentally stop and think about it. I’m not Superman. Superman does good. Once I worked through all of it in my head, I had to smile one of the few genuine simple smiles that I’ve had in months. I think maybe I am doing good and that is a nice way to feel.
So… what am I doing that is good?
Here’s my story…
About a week ago I was sitting waiting for curbside pickup. I don’t remember why… what brought it to mind… but I started to think about Little Free Libraries. I had seen several over the years. There are a couple in Lakewood Ohio. They are little buildings (little… as in… small enough two people could lift them and move them easily) that hold books (lol… library, so, yeah, I guess that is obvious). The idea is to take a book and/or leave a book. Sharing. Sharing is Caring… which today is kind of ironic because… yeah… Covid and sharing is kind of counter intuitive.
Books have always head a special part of my heart. I’ve been a reader my whole life. I’ve been a lover of books… books, reading… I always had my nose in a book any time I could.
The idea of sharing books has always called to me, libraries have been my friend. It’s been incomprehensible to me how anyone could ever burn books. I have so many that have been so precious to me over the years. How could anyone not love books?
But I also know that not everyone loves books. Not everyone has access, readily, to books. And now, not everyone (me included) is willing to go into libraries, no matter how many precautions people are taking while out and about.
So when this thought… this tiny idea… started to scratch at the back of my brain I listened… I considered… I even did an online search to see if there was one anywhere near where I live. There was one that is in my zip code. It is about 15 miles from my house. I didn’t really feel like the trek at that point, so I let it go.
It would not stay gone.
Wednesday (4 days ago…) I had an order to pick up at Walmart curbside. Monkey Butt went with me and we were there a bit early. I THOUGHT it was pretty near there that the one Little Free Library was… so I decided to go and check it out on our way home. It turned out to not exactly be on our way home. It meant a 30 minute detour… but by that time I was determined to see what it was like.
That library is dedicated to the memory of an 8 year old little girl. It is way back in a very affluent housing area and is a cemented in structure that is beautifully landscaped. Inside there are lollypops and school supplies along with the books. It was really a lovely setting. To be honest, if that would have been the only one I had ever seen, I might have not followed through.
But it wasn’t.
I had seen others at the edge of yards right against the sidewalks in way less affluent neighborhoods. Places that looked like they might have been more well used and more frequented. I was not to be deterred.
When I got home, I posted in the Facebook page for our housing area. I asked the question… if one magically showed up… would you be interested in visiting it… in supporting it… in… having one. I didn’t, honestly, have much hope of a response. The response was a deafening yes. Yes people would visit it. Yes people would donate. Yes people thought it was a good idea. Only one dissenting voice suggested that maybe my efforts would have been more well placed if I decided to support the inner city efforts in Cleveland. I researched that place and will be supporting that effort going forward. But this is a close by effort. This is a where you live effort. It doesn’t have to be an either/or thing, it can be a both thing.
That was Wednesday.
By Thursday I had put an offer in on a used newspaper box to house the first go-round of books and had offers of being gifted built wooden structures to house the books as well.
By Friday afternoon I had picked up the newspaper stand and spray painted it purple.
By Saturday morning it had books (some I put in, others people had donated and put in) in it and was starting to see visitors. I sat on the porch (unnoticed) and watched a youngster find a treasure within the little structure. It made my heart sing.
This morning, Sunday morning, the book shelf is full and I have books in my garage to keep it stocked at least for a little while even if people don’t leave a book when they take a book. The outpouring of goodness has touched me deeply.
This has been very quickly overwhelming. This has taken on a life of its own. This has given me back something that I have been struggling to find… joy… purpose… again. I have found my way to give back.
In my head, I hear the voices from my past… you will fail… people like you… it will be a flash in the pan and no one will care a week from now… I hear the voices. I hear them and I’m scared they are right. But this is something that I have to do.
It’s a God Wink.
It is the universe bitch slapping me.
This is where I need to be…
I am doing good.
I’m not always doing well
But I am doing good.
Love and Light