Not long ago I accompanied my husband on a business trip where we attended a national conference for associates in his position. Basically it’s the same trip we take every year and we enjoy renewing friendships and catching up with those we aren’t able to see very often throughout the year.
This year I was looking forward to seeing an associate’s wife who has been fighting cancer. She is a lovely lady whom I have enjoyed visiting with year after year at various events. Bravely, she and her husband have fought brain cancer and won. However, the chemo and/or radiation has left her essentially blind – with just the slightest vision….. in which she can see only shadows.
I was privileged to spend three days with her as the husbands gathered for their meetings and socially as we all attended the scheduled events. So many people fighting this horrible war called cancer are true inspirations – and she was no exception. Her attitude was positive and humble. Kind, grateful and sweet – she was a joy to help.
What surprised me was the world around her.
As we walked through the hallways and rooms bustling with people, my friend clutched my arm for guidance. Seeing her limitations disheartened me. One day as the rain began to fall, I realized she couldn’t traipse back to her room to fetch her umbrella… and if she were able to make it back to the correct room – the trial of finding the umbrella would be more trouble than it was worth.
Although saddened by her disability, there was another handicap I observed – the blindness of the people around us. It astonished me. Unfortunately, we had no sign that read, “Please move aside, blind lady coming through.” It would have helped. Tremendously!
As we approached the men and women strolling towards us their blindness became evident. Why couldn’t they see what was right in front of them?! Maybe they were focused on their destination, their goal, the race against the clock… Why was it that they were blind to the woman approaching them that needed a little consideration – a lady who needed them to step aside so she could walk past them a bit more easily. Instead the flow of people strutted towards us fully expecting that we would step out of their way.
It’s difficult not to take up an offense for a friend that is helpless. I became silently incensed and indignant. Indignant because of their blindness and insensitivity. Offended by their selfishness and angered by their speed which stopped them from seeing what was right before their eyes.
Then it hit me.
On a typical day…..am I as blind as they? Am I those people? Rushing through the day to the next destination so quickly that I don’t even see people in front of me that may be blessed by a small act of consideration? Sadly, I know that I am guilty as charged.
It’s natural to focus more on ourselves than others. But what’s natural isn’t always right.
Today I will take a moment to survey the world bustling around – and take a short detour to make someone else’s life more enjoyable.
Let’s not scurry through and miss opportunities to enrich lives – ours and those around us.