I’m sitting in my car crying. I was in Whole Foods a few minutes ago. I saw this elderly man gingerly pushing a cart as if he was unsure of each step. As a child, I was taught, respect adults and to respect and give deference to the elderly. As my parents grew older, noticed how they get nervous in public,for fear of being a nuance, they’d physically stutter, trying to quicken the pace and yet try to become invisible at the same time. I recognized the same movement in this gentleman. I smiled and thought, don’t be invisible, take your time, it’s all good. As he walked away, I recognized something else, the gait.
He’s in his late 90s, he was a paratrooper in WW II. His walk is distinctive because of arthritis in his lower weight bearing joints; he did a lot of jumps and had early onset arthritis as a result of damage. I called out his name, then remembered the hearing aids and rushed a ahead of him to say hi. We hugged, then we charged ahead in search of his wife.
So there I was in my car now crying. We are surrounded amazing people. I am thankful for what I was taught, thankful for everyone who showed kindness to my parents as they aged and thankful that I had a serendipitous meeting with my friends. This week, not to be cliche, but, what are you thankful for? What were you taught in childhood that you grew to appreciate as an adult? In a crowd of people, take moment to see the humanity.