Coming home this time I felt immediately at home. Maybe it was because I’m on vacation, but I think it was because I felt useful. I tightened up a loose toilet handle and re-leveled the clothes washer, and then Jenny and I cleaned gutters for some neighbors – they are in their eighties now, and their roof quite steep.

There’s a peculiarly good feeling I get from helping people who don’t expect it. It spoils it a little to talk about it here (to be completely honest, I do also feel a touch of smug self-satisfaction), but I have my reasons: I want to encourage you to try it. Just thinking about what you could do for someone else is worthwhile, but doing it feels even better.