Friday, November 30, 2007

Hello in There

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you John Prine.

In the past year or so, I've been very aware of the aging process. I am 47 and still in great health, standing tall, all organs and limbs are functioning properly. I am going to keep it that way if I can help it.

Sure, I am a little slower than I used to be. I can't do as many cartwheels as I used to, and don't care to. I have other attributes that are becoming more prominent; like patience, my sense of humor is more easily triggered, I don't sweat the small stuff, and more and more of the time in my day is filled with small stuff.

My thought processes go a mile a minute when I see an elderly person all hunched over, pushing a shopping cart, their back in the shape of a C. How'd they get like that? Gradually?

In the past year, as I was stocking grocery shelves, I worked during the day when mostly elder folk did their grocery shopping. I saw couples doing that deed together, and I saw widows and widowers doing it alone. Some of them were in pretty bad shape; C's and D's, gimp legs, protrusions from their necks and heads. They could tell I was sympathetic and asked for my help reaching or finding items. I never minded. I know I will be old one day too.

At one of the stores I maintained, I would run into a man in a motorized cart that I came to know as Anthony. He lost his wife 15 years ago on New Years Day and still misses her terribly. From the first time I encountered him, he pegged me as a listener and followed me around aisles for about 10 minutes. I learned a lot of his personal history in those few minutes.

I only went to that store a few more times before becoming the rep at a different store. Each time, he'd stop and talk to me and tell me stories about his wife. He recited poetry to me that he wrote for her. I knew it was important to listen to him. I felt compassion for him - wheelchair bound - lost both legs a few years ago, and living alone. He goes to the grocery every day to get out the house, and he cooks for himself.

At first, I thought I was doing him a favor by listening to him, but now I realize that I have been inspired and uplifted by his story. What a blessing it was to have encountered him - instead of his slowing me down at putting away the products.

To the young person that's still inside of you, and the old person waiting to develop, hello in there.

1 comment:

Kim Ayres said...

I think you should stik up a video of you doing cartwheels on Youtube :)