This week, as I was heading to my locker in the family changing room, I almost ran into a woman who was coming out of one of the large cabins. We both apologized for the near miss but she did not smile or offer any opening for conversation which is unusual at our gym. I am quite used to having in depth discussions with strangers in our facility but not everyone is there for a chat. I moved my stuff out of her way to give her ample space and then her situation became abundantly clear.
Out of the same cabin where she had just been, a gentleman appeared who looked to be about the same age. I would give them both late sixties or early seventies. He was moving quite slowly and sat down beside her. I watched as she dried his feet and tried to coach him through putting on his socks before his shoes. This was a tiresome task as he was insistent that it was time for him to put on his shoes. I remain in awe at her patience through this whole process. Many of us have had to dress our own kids or grand-kids and we know how difficult this can be. Usually kids are much smaller and easy to manage. All I could think about was how much harder this would be if he were physically defiant. He was twice her size.
Once his shoes were tied he sat quietly and watched his caregiver, maybe wife, brush her hair in the mirror. I found this quite touching. I looked away briefly to pick up my bags and as I was passing them I noticed that he had a child’s comb in his hands and he was combing his own hair off to one side just like a little boy would do. I can’t make any assumptions about his condition but I witnessed immeasurable patience and love and wondered if I myself could be that strong.
I wished them both a wonderful day and each of them smiled in return. They seemed quite surprised that I would speak to them at all!
We must be thankful for the little things in life and remember that being kind is always appreciated, especially by those who bare huge responsibility for the welfare of others. Often just a simple smile will brighten someone’s day and in turn this will help them to carry on.
Have a great day.