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!
34 thoughts on “There’s None So Blind …”
Every now and then my particular 12-Step program suggests that I take out that legal pad, make two columns and write all the pluses and minuses in my life. And things about which you wrote about today all make me to be humble with gratitude because the plus list is so much longer.
That’s sounds like such a helpful exercise to do, Carl. A good reminder.
Those thing will cause you to stop and think.
True, duke. So humbling.
It’s truly good to have a reminder now and then. It’s hard to see the world through other’s eyes and in their shoes, and hard to empathize with them. I find it remarkably freeing to put aside my own prejudices and concerns and think about their lives… a real gift! We are all god’s children…
Thanks for posting this humbling and heartfelt story.
True, Winn. I wish I could think beyond my own horizons more often … xx
Great post, SIL.
When I worked retail, I often served people with disabilities or parents of kids with mental disabilities. We have no idea how fortunate we are much of the time and every reminder is worth paying attention to.
Thanks, bsb. You’re so right … such reminders are so humbling xx
Oh, Sunshine…aren’t we so human?
I can relate to your post…of course I can…human, too. 🙂
blessings, and I know that your beautiful heart guides you on the best path…so, be nice to yourself.
thanks for sharing your words, as always
Thank you, gorgeous fellow human! I do get annoyed with myself when I catch myself in situations like this – thanks for your encouragement xx
My uncle went blind from diabetes when his children were 18,17,15,13, &11. He worked very hard at keeping a great outlook on life. He told jokes regularly and smiled often. I often thought if I were in his shoes would my demeanor be the same. I can’t help but think I would have been a crabby irritable person given the same circumstances.
It’s always amazing to hear stories like that, Jeanne – your uncle sounds like a huge and lovely soul xx
That my dear, should be Freshly Pressed! Mmwaah.
We could all do with those humbling moments.
Thank you, bokkie – mwaah back atcha! xx
That story of the blind man was very touching. That he wasn’t using his disability to gain any sympathy. Good for you that you were patient with him, despite not knowing that.
The last couple of years have been very humbling for me in the same way. The good that’s come out of having health problems, is that I now don’t judge people as quickly and always give them the benefit of the doubt. You never know what somebody else is struggling with.
Thanks for this comment, Lisa. My frustration is that I don’t always think about what someone else might be struggling with, and then it hits me like a brick… Thanks for sharing your experience xx
Ah Sunshine. But how could you have known? Be fair to yourself. You made judgment calls based on the information that was available to you at the moment. That’s a human thing. We see and we assess and we modify our understanding the more we observe. The scenes like the one you described above just happen sometimes.
But I do know what you mean about being humbled. My first job out of graduate school, I worked in an office with a quadriplegic. He could only move above the neck. But you know, nothing stopped him. He had a successful career, he was married with children and he lived a full life. He drove a car using a mouthpiece to control a special steering wheel. He used another special mouthpiece to help him type. Etc. After meeting Mark, I told myself I’d never complain about my physical limitations again.
You’re right, Maura – I just make judgments too quickly sometimes, and that frustrates me. Mark sounds like an amazing man xx
Another beautiful post, Sunshine…
We never realize how lucky we are, until we see someone who’s worse off!
Thanks, Wendy – you’re quite right xx
You’re only human, Sunshine, your redeeming feature is that you can take a step back and realise your shortcomings. Don’t beat yourself up too much. xxx
Thanks, Cindy. I don’t think I’m beating myself up; just stopping and reflecting xx
Thought provoking, Sunshine. I guess every time something like this happens it makes one’s world view a little wider. Step by step with the right intent, we’ll grow, I feel sure.
Thanks, Kate – growth is the goal indeed xx
Another beautiful post. It’s another reminder for us to spend more time looking outward than inward. It’s so easy to be focused on my own troubles, and I fail to see the troubles of others far out-weigh mine.
True, Darlene – it was a very stark reminder for me today xx
Great post, Sunshine! I suspect there are more than me who are now wondering how we could have been so cruel at certain points of our lives, even if the cruelty came through our thoughts alone. We don’t mean to be mean, but we can’t help judging — I guess that’s what the Good Book means when it advises us to “remove the plank from our own eyes before judging others.” Thanks for making me think today!
Very true, Debbie – thanks for your comment xx
We’re only human. We all get caught up in ourselves sometimes and forget about what might be going on with other people.
Exactly, Todd. We all do it, don’t we?
Oh, how absolutely true. I’m guilty of the same kind of intolerance and impatience with people sometimes. Little knowing that they might have some disabilities preventing them from being “normal.” I am ashamed of myself when this happens. Great post! ~ Leah
Thanks, Leah – I’m glad you can relate to how I felt.
Thanks so much for coming by – welcome to my blog. I absolutely love your blog name – I’ll come over and say hi!
It’s a little too easy to get caught up in ourselves, isn’t it? My conscious is a nagger too – I’m only miffed that it sometimes waits until after the fact before it speaks up, a late reminder to not ‘judge a book by its cover’.
I know what you mean, clouded marble. We’re just human, I guess.