I’ve just got home after a morning out. As I sat waiting for the bus, an elderly lady came and sat next to me in the bus shelter. To say I felt jolly freaking irritated at her behaviour, would be putting it mildly.
She sat and munched on her false teeth. She pushed them around her mouth, clicked and clonked on them endlessly, and made an awful sound. She also fidgeted and twitched and bounced her legs up and down and rocked the bus shelter seat. Then our bus came.
Up she got, and she shuffled to the edge of the pavement. As she stood there, her legs bounced continuously. Involuntarily. I realised – to my shame – that she must have some condition that causes her to move constantly and involuntarily.
I wanted to cry as I realised the level of my intolerance, and my snap judgment of her behaviour, without thinking beyond how it was affecting me. How pathetic. A humbling – indeed, humiliating – reminder, for sure. I wanted to apologise to her for my thoughts.
A few years ago, a call came through to my desk at work. It was a man who had booked a counselling session at the organisation I worked for, and he wasn’t sure how to get to the offices. I enquired where he’d be travelling from, and proceeded to give him directions.
I expected that sooner or later the directions would sound familiar. Not so much. Nothing seemed to make sense to him; he repeated everything I said a few times, and I wondered why he was so unsure of landmarks and road names. I did feel a little impatient, although I duly repeated each instruction at his request.
An hour or so later, the office doorbell went and, because our receptionist was not at her desk, I went to open the security gate. I greeted the new arrival and he immediately said that he was the one who had called for directions.
I opened the gate, and he struggled a little as he made his way through. He was carrying a white stick, you see.
Not one ounce of me had considered that it might be because he was blind that he was unsure of the directions I was giving him. Nor that he was passing the instructions on to his driver.
My slump into shame was soon lightened by his delightful personality. As I showed him through to the reception area, he asked if he could hold on to my arm.
“It’s a little dark in here,” he said.
He then asked if I would show him to the bathroom, and he chirped and made me laugh as we made our way through the building.
“I don’t look so good,” he said.
I was shaken and stirred and mortified at my blinkered inability to consider another perspective. I had looked at the world through my own lenses, without stopping to consider those lenses were mine alone.
Today I was similarly reminded. My prayer and my desire is that one day my world view will embrace all possibilities, not just my own. There is seriously none so blind as she who will not see.
Sunshine signing off for today!