A 17-year-old doesn’t really believe he needs time with his father alone, one on one with a fair amount of time to exchange thoughts and strengthen understanding. By no coincidence what he believes and must endure are two quite completely different things. Among our weekly practices and scheduled time together is a weekly brunch on Saturday. Between jobs we squeeze in about an hour to eat, laugh and talk. On this particular Saturday he had exhibited a great deal of flexibility and agreed we should join his grandparents in celebrating my brother and his wife’s visit and changing our location and menu.
As we arrived first and reserved a table, I had my first brush with the first half of my future amazement and lesson awaiting me. An awkward and decrepit gentleman made his way in front of me at a snail’s pace toward the back of the room. I endured his journey with his tennis ball tipped walker until the first cross row of tables where I speedily paced and cut to the opposite side of the restaurant, seeking my own agenda and needs. Being somewhat desensitized from my normal weeks day in and day out, I failed to pay him much thought past my own inconvenience.
Busy tends to take its toll on the obvious before us and I did my share to stay uninvolved and self-motivated. After ordering I hurried to the restroom and quickly proceeded to wash and leave. Scratching slaps against the door revealed to me in the mirror that I was seeing once again my snail paced friend. His unsure and wavering motion forced me to watch and his disposition and body language warned me that I dare not speak. Pain and aggravation wrote their names across his face as I searched for the slightest opening to be of assistance or merely a pleasant word uttered. No such moment presented itself and I felt unaccomplished and checkmated by my insignificance in the moment. Nothing natural or forced had revealed itself and my loss of words and actions disappointed me.
After being seated back at my table I watched the gentleman struggle toward a wheelchair where he met and did his best to push his wife alone unassisted to their table. The wheelchair and walker surrounded the small table and my ears remained with my family as my eyes and mind strolled across the room to the remarkable spirit unfolding before me. After a long settling process and the arrival of their feast, the two weakest in the building emitted their strength. In the center of the table two wrinkled, withered and age-spotted arms grasped at the fingers and gave thanks for their blessings. Old, crippled, sick and handicapped they had nothing and yet everything and I realized on that day it had not been my job to help at all but to be helped.
Love, thankfulness and prayer commanded its presence over all less important things and two rightfully discouraged were not. My basket of what to be grateful for was turned upside down and what I chose to pick up and return and leave unretrieved gave my life the gift of perspectives. While looking to always help we can never afford to fail to realize we need it ourselves. In that moment the weak carried the strong and I was reminded God’s favor is through acceptance of his help not our ability to grant it to others. He must come before them and all to follow will find itself in the light. A life’s witness is purposeful and speaks volumes of our ability to accept all the gifts spread before us. May the center of your table be filled with clinched hands and the closing of your eyes help you see more clearly than ever as the help that you welcome “trickles down to another.”
YFTC & ITSOO,