I can’t stop thinking about what I witnessed a couple nights ago when I made the sudden decision to go to Trader Joe’s while my daughter was at an activity. I debated whether I had enough time to go there, but I’m so glad I did.
As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, a woman assisted who I assumed to be her mother out of the car and got her situated with her walker. There’s a chance she was a caregiver. Whatever their relationship was, there was so much love and patience shown, it made me think about the many ways I need to improve and feel grateful for every blessing I have.
I don’t think the purpose of their shopping trip was to shop, but to help this woman preserve what little strength she had left. She couldn’t hold her head up at all. In fact, I couldn’t even see her face. Her legs looked like they were wasting away and I feel pretty certain that she is suffering from ALS. Some of her fingers gripped the walker from underneath because she couldn’t stand upright enough and I kept wondering if she was going to fall. Her daughter stood close by, looking as if she wanted her to have as much independence as possible, but was also quite cautious. I’m sure she must wonder every day, “Will tomorrow be the day she won’t be able to walk anymore?” I was amazed as the woman managed to use a smart phone in what look like the most uncomfortable position imaginable. Her daughter smiled. I realized the woman didn’t seem to speak a word.
They returned to their car and her daughter continued to smile at her like she was her most treasured person on earth. I’m sure she has no idea what a wonderful example she is to others.
I thought about all of the things I had been putting off that week simply because I didn’t feel like it. I didn’t want to take my toddler out of the van x amount of times. It was too cold. I was tired. The work was too tedious. Then I imagined what this woman must feel like. I bet she would do anything to be able to carry a child around, fold laundry, make dinner, and vacuum up that cereal for the third time today.
Years ago my parents witnessed the rapid weight loss and decline of one of our neighbors. She was diagnosed with ALS. Her husband walked her down the sidewalk every day and back to their home. Her legs looked like they were shriveling up. Eventually the walks stopped. Then one day my mom got what she thought was a prank call from one of us kids. She started to joke around until she realized it was our neighbor trying to call for help because her dog ran away and she couldn’t get her back. My mom hurried over there and they both cried together. She had lost her ability to talk.
Today I’m doing the things I’ve been putting off with gratitude. We often don’t know all of the blessings we have until they are taken away. I would love to be able to develop a lifelong habit of being grateful for all of my mundane tasks.
Who has inspired you?