Turning Things Around

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Today, I had something kind of unfortunate happen. I'm not going to go into what happened, but I would like to share what happened afterward. I was mad and angry and throwing a pity party about how much my life sucked. Then I went to Wal-mart to get some groceries. As I was checking out, I saw this man shuffling in. He was probably in his early 80s, and had too-big glasses, a flannel shirt, and worn out shoes on. He had severe scoliosis and his one foot stuck out to the side. It took him a couple of minutes to take just a few steps! I watched him the whole time I was waiting in line, then I paid for my groceries and went out to my car. I sat in my car for a few moments, thinking about what I had seen. I finally decided to go back in and see if I could help him. By the time I got back in the store, he had only made it to the second aisle. I walked up to him and asked him if I could help him and this is when something amazing happened. He looked up at me over his big glasses, smiled adorably, and replied: "No, thank you. I get along real good." I was stunned! It made me so ashamed of how I had reacted to my earlier event! I went home and bawled my eyes out.

This event made me think of some dear people I have known that have passed away recently. One was a man I had known my whole life. He was the sweetest, funniest, most mischievous guy you could ever have met. He was also the most honest, big-hearted, forgiving, self-less, and interesting. He had more friends than anyone I have ever known. He always took people under his wing, young or old. He always knew who I was, even though he did have so many friends. He also was blind and had diabetes. I never heard him complain about it though. He learned to thrive even with his physical challenges and never stopped taking care of others, until the day he died. As soon as I heard he wasn't doing well, I wrote him a letter saying what he had meant to me my whole life and what a great example he was to me. Even though that was the hardest thing I've ever done, it gave me peace knowing that I had let him know just how much he meant to me before it was too late.

Another man was a man that I only recently briefly got the privilege to meet and say hi to. He's kind of a celebrity: he is in the Guinness Book of World Records. You wouldn't have known it by his appearance though. He still wore cat-eye(ish) glasses! His name was Walter Breuning and he was the oldest man in the world. I can't really explain what he meant to me, even though I didn't know him. I loved his speeches and how he conducted himself. I loved that the oldest man in the world lived in my hometown. I loved that the fame didn't get to his head, but he used it to spread goodwill towards man and the ideals of better times. I'll let him speak for himself:
I love that he said that every day is a good day! Another quote from him is "A lot of people think they're born for themselves; I don't think that. I believe that we're here to help other people all the way through." He had a bright smile and a great attitude! Here's a link to another video of him if you're interested: Walter's 114th Birthday Thoughts. He's not as easy to understand in those videos, but his heart shines through.

In all, there is so much I can learn from these great men. I want to take the lessons I learned today to heart and put them to use in my life. Whenever I think I can't, I want to think about the first gentleman. Whenever I think poor me, I want to think about the second gentleman. And when I think that my life sucks, I want to think about the third.

3 pieces of love:

Nichole said...

i love this post...it's from the depths of your heart! :) like a good friend mentioned to me one day, "you know the character of a person by how they treat our older folks" isn't that true? thanks for your love to them, too!

LovesVeggies said...

Love this post. Well said and thoughtful. So glad you went back into the store to ask if the man needed help. Pay-it-forward they say :)

peasandlove said...

Thanks, ladies! :)

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