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  • We’ve just arrived at Elmwood Cemetery in the heart of Detroit. A woman in a giant, shiny black SUV pulls up as we get out of our car.

    “How do you get out of here?” she asks. She looks genuinely worried and confused. Keith tries to explain. The place is a maze. I am listening to his explanations, and my eyes glaze over—so complicated—and I know the cemetery.

    I say, “We could get in your car with you and show you the way out.” I know this is a long shot. Strangers often mistrust each other. But she immediately agrees and we climb in her car. I sit in the front. She is holding her purse and several other items that were on the front seat. She can’t drive.

    “I can hold your things,” I say, and she hands them to me. I am holding her purse, large, red, fancy, heavy. I think, who would hand their purse to a total stranger? I think, someone else might rob her. I think, she could rob us. And I smile, because I know she won’t.

    We give her directions, little by little, working our way out of the maze. When we get to the gate, I hand her her purse, water bottle, etc. She thanks us, and we get out and wish her a good day. Then we walk for an hour, stopping to photograph flowers and other things along the way.

    I feel grateful for an opportunity to be useful, to help, to be trusted. It seems like a gift and a blessing.
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