I was driving to physical therapy last week and I drove past a man who was a double above knee amputee sitting in a wheelchair, begging. It touched me to my core. It touched me first of all because I can relate to his situation probably better than anyone I know and secondly because it made me feel sad for him. I wondered how he was in that situation?
The whole scenario made me feel thankful for all that I have despite the fact I have lost both of my legs. Sometimes we can get caught up in our own lives and our own predicaments and forget how fortunate we really are.
It is easy in our day to day lives to forget those whose lives are wrought with basic problems like lack of food, shelter and clothing. Perhaps my seeing this disabled man begging for money, reminded me that if it were not for my own insistent longing for the betterment of my life, I could be that man.
Sometimes I question where a person's motivation or lack of motivation really comes from. Are we born a certain way or are we a product of the environment we were exposed to as children and molded by the events that occur in our lives as we grow into adulthood?
Whatever the answers to these and so many more questions may be, it makes me thankful for my home, my family, my friends and even my lifestyle. Granted, my life has taken a turn that has put it in a place of perceived hardship, but seeing someone like the man I described earlier makes me realize and appreciate all that I have.
As I was writing this particular blog segment, I received a phone call from a friend of mine named Sylvia. Sylvia was my in home physical therapist, who helped me through a lot of my post-operative traumas including many of the by-pass operations and ultimately through the loss of my leg, both times.
Sylvia seems to have called me at just the right moment and I told her I was writing about my thoughts and feelings regrding the bilateral above knee amputee in a wheelchair. I have always held Sylvia in high regard, she is a very intuitive and spiritually aware person and has offered me her insight on several topics many times.
Sylvia believes, as do many people, that our lives are a product of the choices we make. At the risk of sounding unsympathetic, she said she thought that it is possible that the man has chosen to be in his situation. When I say chosen, I don't mean he chose to be a beggar in the street, but rather that he chose not to fight to overcome his situation. In short, he may very well be content where he finds his life.
Sylvia believes it is best to try to accept people and their situations for what they are, being as unjudgmental as possible and of course offering help to those who want to help themselves.
Those of us who feel we are compassionate human beings, look at other people's lives and their subsequent perceived happiness or unhappiness, then make our own assessment of their situation based on what we want from our own lives.
As I have written about on other occasions, we can never know what another person has gone through to arrive at where they are, nor should we make assumptions or judgments about where they are now.
I guess in an atempt to make some coherent sense of my ramblings, I will say that I am thankful and appreciative for my life, and how I have managed to keep my spirit alive despite some very difficult obstacles. I am thankful God has given me the wherewithal to continue down my path with optimism and compassion for my fellow human beings.
May God's grace and love be with the man I saw in the wheelchair, that he may lead a life of peace and happiness.
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