Circle of Love

I guess the Circle of Love all started a long time ago…..maybe 35-40 years.  It was nothing, really.  I had a lot of friends from all over, from refugee and immigrant communities to folks who lived on boats, skid-row types, petty criminals, doctors, lawyers, roller-hockey players….you know, the mish-mash of people one gets to know as you get on with getting on?

Side note: You should have seen our wedding…it was a masquerade ball because everyone invited was so different and from such weird walks-of-life we thought we could break the social barriers by having them in costume.  It worked remarkably well.  

Then, as I worked as a mediator and arbitrator, I added to the list along with neighbours and friends and kind encounters with strangers.  It was not a real list.  It was just a running mental list of people who were ‘good people’ and who could be counted on to be ethical and fair and kind to someone in need.  I would guess that, at any given time, there were only about 15 to 20 ‘active members’ who, in fact, did not even KNOW they were members.  It was really just me keeping a list of who was naughty and who was nice and I would check that list more than twice.  Ho Ho Ho.

Anyway, one of them was a young man at the time.  He was going through some kind of hell and I helped him out.  After a year or so, he was into clean air and tacking well to windward.  He was free.  We stayed friends.  And there was another and I helped him and then he and I were friends.  One day the first guy needed some kind of special skill and the second guy had that skill and I introduced them.

“B, this is S.  He needs 123-doing and you are the best I know at that.  He’s in the Circle.  Go help him”.

‘B’ said, “What’s the circle?”  I explained that good guys get help from other good guys and we do it freely because we know they will do the same for others.  They may even do the same for us someday but that would just be a coincidence.  You are in the Circle because the love goes out to the good who need it.”

“Wow!  I am part of that?”

“Yeah.  Think of it as being part of a type of Rotary or Lions service club or something without the breakfast meetings.  And the demands on your time might happen only once in lifetime.”

“I’m in!”

“Dude!  You’ve been in for the last three years.  Now go call S and help him out.”

” I don’t know this ‘S’ guy.”

“Just say, ‘Dave sent me’.  That should do it.  If you don’t like him or don’t want to do it, do not do it.  You are totally free but you are obligated to meet him, look at the issue and, if you can, do your best.  That’s it.”

And S and B became friends.  And so did maybe twenty guys get called and every time, the term Circle of Love was invoked and strangers helped out strangers.  It is a great system and there are no dues.

S called me the other day.  “Dave, shouldn’t we all know who is in the Circle of Love?  I mean, I am now doing pretty good and I am more well positioned than so many people during this virus, shouldn’t we all meet one another and see what we can do to help one another?”

“Well, the CoL was never intended  to be obligatory.  Someone would call and someone would be called and that was basically it.  But I see your point – they all went through me.  And that should be remedied, I suppose.  My problem today is that some of the members are older than me.  W is now 90.  H is 90.  I have more than a few J’s in their late 80’s.  I would venture to say that some in the circle are of little use now.”

“All the more reason to organize a meeting and draft some youth.  We can’t let this slip away.”

So, I am thinking of doing that.  But I coined the phrase, Circle of Love, as a word-joke. I rarely use the term.  The only members were hairy guys who didn’t even really know there was a CoL unless they called for help or got called to get help.  Only S liked the name so much, it endured.

My friend D in Hong Kong has been a HUGE help to so many, only a few of which were CoL members.  That is just who he is.  Same for D and most of the J’s.  Many members would be surprised to get a call for any other reason than to ‘just go help somebody’.  If there is anything special about it, it is that they do it for a stranger who then, inevitably becomes a friend.

The reality is that the CoL is not a circle at all.  It is more like the Olympic Rings, interlocking.  S has his own circle of which I am a member.  BK, D and D and D and the J’s all have their own circles.  It is NOT an organization, it is an affiliation of good eggs.  And the influence is way wider than just the members who do not even know they are members.

Craig at Comox Fountain Tire acted in exactly that CoL manner the night we had the flat tire on our way to the hospital.  He was not (then) in the CoL.  And I do not know him well enough to call it official but, if there was anyone in that area that needed that kind of help, I’d call Craig and say, “Circle of Love, man.  Go help this woman.  Her name is S and she is near you.  If you charge, I’ll pay.  She’s poor.  If you don’t charge and do a good job, you are in the CoL officially.”

He’d say, “Who is this?  Is this a phone scam-thing?”

So, I would re-introduce myself and provide an explanation and I have never been disappointed yet.  He’d go.  She’d get help.  They’d be friends.  That’s how it works.

Now, dear reader,  don’t be silly as you envision all this….if Craig had to replace a tire or fix something, he might charge.  He may have costs.  CoL does not mean free.  It means ‘YOUR TIME AND YOUR CARING IS FREE.  Any real outlay of expenses and parts are the recipients cost. You can waive them or collect them, your call.  The only real requirement is that you help NOW and you are the best you can be.’

God, the world is weird, eh?



12 thoughts on “Circle of Love

  1. That’s lovely.
    My friend has a group of lovely people in her circle who support her in sorts of ways tangible and intangible with the care of her autistic son. She calls it the Circle of Love too.
    Thank goodness for good people and wannabe good people.


  2. I like the concept, and I have been practicing it myself for the last 30 years…although my circle did not have a name! It just grew “organically”. But the last 10 or 15 years or so, it seems its harder to “add” people, maybe it is in our culture in Belgium, maybe times they are changing. Belgian people are somewhat “reserved”, and its like they always think “what’s this going to cost me”. I am a bit worried though that times are changing, and that a lot of people become more self-centered…you see it everywhere in society. But that doesn’t stop me for maintaining my small but strong own “circle”. I was reading through some old posts of yours and came across the post of the accident on the ramp, and lie all the community jumped in to help…kinda nice to know that people are watching your back out there.


    • Easier to practice out here because ‘money’ is not the common currency. But my guy S is in the city and most of the ‘CoL is also in the city with a few notable OTG members all over. We have a Dutch family here. Been here a long, long time. Quite a few German visitors, too. The summer mail plane carries 2 or four passengers and invariably they are Duth or Danes or Belgies. Sometimes Germans. Mid-North Europe sends a lot of visitors.


      • Well…hopefully we will be on that mailplane some time next year paying the island a visit to see what it really is like out there.


      • There has to be some really keen travel agent near you because all the passengers are from The Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark/Germany. Still, if you don’t see it, look for Corilair flying out of Campbell River. They seem to have a normal tourist route that includes mostly post office stops (3?) and occasionally they stop at lodges or camps as well, I think. The view is spectacular and the stop at our post office often includes a short hike around the area. If you are flying, then the flight will either be on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Right now, we are planning on having ‘lunch-on-the-dock’ on Fridays. Then you get to see the locals.


  3. “Pay it Forward”… kinda thing.
    Its helped me a few times.
    Usually I’m the one “paying it” . ( Comes with owning various trucks for 40 years and having “friends” call me up to move their bed, couch, tv, garbage, landscaping crap, whatever.)
    And when I call for help to move something……?
    They’re too busy.
    I just donate blood.
    easy, anonymous, no strings attached.
    Grumpy bastard has spoken……
    But I still have a truck.


    • Un huh. Says the guy who just sent us some free stream screening. Says the guy who has been on the list for a while without knowing it. Methinks he doth protest too much.


    • If you are relatively strong, healthy, capable, smart and good, you are the go-to guy. That is for sure. And out here, that has also shown up so people getting help from such a guy almost ALWAYS acknowledge that with a fresh-caught fish or something. That fish-thing is harder to do in the city. You loan a rural guy a truck and he gives you a fish but doesn’t tell you……smelly truck. The two worlds do not dance well together but the principles are still the same. You ‘do’ for your friends. My ratio is probably 50:1. I give. They get. But they needed, I don’t. But then the universe seems to ‘right’ that balance and when I need (flat tire in the snow on the way to the hospital), I got. In spades. I needed mesh screen for our stream…..
      When you need, DC, it will come. If not from someone close by, call me.


  4. You have written often about your experience of ‘community’ OTG. It seems you have facilitated the expression of ‘better angels’ for a very long time. I would agree that realizing this ‘good’ is harder in the city— but doable. One of your better posts I would say. It gave me a better appreciation of your motivations and responses to the ‘world’ out there. It seems that when the world becomes your friend blessings can abound.


    • Thank you, Fred. And all that while still being grouchy, impatient and intolerant of fools! But, honestly, it is NOT an effort most of the time. A phone call, an hour or so here and there, usually some kind of ‘advocacy’ for those in need. NOT a burden. No biggy. And you are quite right, when the world seems full of potential friends rather than enemies and you are not shy to make the first move, all sorts of good things can happen. At least it has so far. I’m with Sal, aren’t I?


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