Headphones in. I was feeling good. Honestly, I was just focused on getting to the conference room inside the hospital to set up for my workshop. The only thing separating me from achieving my goal was a steep hill and a much older man slowly struggling to walk up the steep entrance to get to an appointment.
Crap! Half of me wanted to say hello, slow my pace, strike up a conversation, and walk up this hill together. The other half of me just wanted to breeze right by him, keep bobbing my head, and let the guilt of never saying “hello” roll right off my shoulder. Sometimes I am just not in the mood. Don’t judge me.
Well, my greater good prevailed and I dislodged my headphones, caught up to him, and struck up a short conversation with an old man that I would likely never see again.
As I slowly walked side by side chatting with what seemed like a sweet old man, he started to explain why he suffered such a slow, limp walk. Unfortunately for him, this steep hill was the only entrance onto the main hospital campus (they obviously did not consider the disabled and handicapped patrons when they chose the land to be a hospital). He told me that an issue with his back was to blame for his knee no longer bending forward as he walked. I found it quite ironic that the doctor he visited to help relieve his pain was located on terrain that required his body to prove that it was failing him.
Doctor: “So, how has your leg been feeling since our last appointment?”
Old Man: “Great, as long as I don’t put too much stress on the knee and back.”
Doctor: “Well, you should really stay away from hills and stairs.”
Helpless, I just smiled, listened, and offered to be nothing more than his walking partner along that hill for a few minutes. He tripped. I waited. And then, we finished the short journey together in the 88-degree humid heat.
So what’s the point here?
The world moves fast and it moves on. Circumstances were less than ideal for this old man and his leg and I couldn’t change it. But, I could somehow and in some small way let him know that he was not alone if he tripped again. And just in case he did, I was there to let him know that someone really did care about his limp and his journey.
You may never know what someone else is going through and you certainly cannot help everyone, but welcome the opportunity to help the people that do cross your path. It might just prevent this world from running out of love. A little flame can still create a huge fire. So, do good and be good. What else are you on earth for if not that?