Join the Madness

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What do you see?

I saw an old man walking recently. Each step was a struggle.  He had only a cane with him, and his right shin was bandaged.  My heart went out to him, as it usually does, because he was trying so hard to move forward and making such slow progress. 

It reminded me of my grandpa.  He used to walk the sidewalk in front of his house for exercise. He was 90 years old and it was slow going, but he enjoyed the change of scenery, however brief.  He didn't have to be out there, he wanted to be out there.  He was disappointed when the weather wouldn't allow him to take his daily stroll.

There was someone else I encountered in the neighborhood.  He walked with a horrible limp.  It seemed like each step was painful.  I felt sorry for him.  Going anywhere took him twice as long because walking was such a chore, not to mention how brazenly people stared.  Poor guy, right?

That's what I thought until I learned he had been in a horrible accident and he had almost DIED.  Doctors told him he would never walk again.  Yet here he was, walking. Oh, it wasn't easy.  But he defied the odds and what I had seen as an unfortunate handicap was actually a miracle.  What a celebration each labored step was! I am ashamed of my pity. How misplaced it was! I learned a very valuable lesson about accepting people for who they are and never to assume anything.

Go look out your window.  What do you see?


13 comments:

Jolene Perry said...

Nothing but trees...
Oh, I don't think that's what you were going for.
I'm always finding myself surprised by people and have slowly learned not to judge by appearances - appearances of behavior, dress or movement. Now I'm going to give you a line from Pretty Woman
"Very few people surprise me"
"Yeah? Well most of them shock the hell out of me."
I love that.
He He - I'm the first commenter person today, or tonight, or whatever.

aspiring_x said...

there's no such thing as flat, static people. there might be characters that way- but not people.
and a whole lotta dark. it's early morning and storming... can't see an awful lot! :)

Carole Anne Carr said...

Met someone like that recently, trying to walk from shop to car, but he elgantly and determinedly refused all help. I had to leave him be.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

It's amazing how a person's background can change your perception of him once you learn the truth.

Christine Fonseca said...

Love this post - its a good reminder to SEE the world - really SEE it.

Janet Johnson said...

Isn't it amazing how a little detail can totally change our perspective? Yay for him! Out my window is a lonely garbage can, but sitting behind me is a cute boy sending blocks through autobot modes and a little girl making block stew. Good times. :)

Jen said...

These lessons are the best, the one's that make you realize how you see things in life, and how maybe you should look at them differently. How life isn't all that awful if you think from a more positive light.

Thanks for the lesson :) It's good to be back!

Meredith said...

I love it when my perspective shifts like that--it can affect you so profoundly. This is a great one.

Dawn said...

Sadly, my cubicle doesn't have windows, so I have a collection of encouraging writerly posts printed out and pinned to my bulletin board. If I do get a few minutes to do some writing, I enjoy being surrounded by supportive peers :-)

Bish Denham said...

A 90 year old lady who does water aerobics. No matter what the instructor calls out, she jogs in the water. The point is, she's there (drives herself gulp) and moving.

Carolyn V. said...

Excellent lesson Vicki. I have goosebumps. =)

Wendy Ramer said...

Being on a college campus at the moment, I see students of all enthnicities hanging out. Some are smoking (still too young to NOT get it), some are actually strumming guitars, and others are cursing wildly about God knows what. But all have the glow of possibility shining from them.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'd say he was a walking miracle.