As I’ve discussed before, I have been feeling a bit more unsteady than usual recently so I have been using my cane more and more for balance. So, I was using my cane yesterday at IKEA, and was shocked to turn around and look out from the elevator I had just entered to see a boy, maybe 16 or 17, staring at me with his lip twisted and a huge attitude written all over his face with his eyes in total judgement. Had I been a quick thinker I am positive I would have come up with something smart and witty to say ha!
This really got me thinking and I was reminded of the old Dick Van Dyke show where Dick comedically walked in the door and tripped over an ottoman. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BttXQJ_gDnc
As a society we have been almost trained to laugh at another person’s misfortune. Not to be mean, but in an attempt to keep things light hearted.
However, I found no one laughing, especially not me at the elevator situation. I realize a lot of this comes from my own insecurities of limping or walking with a cane. So I do a pretty good job of brushing it off, you can never know EVERYTHING about another person, let alone a complete stranger.
I was that age once, and I can never remember blatantly staring at another person in complete disbelief and judgement like that boy was looking at me. I guess I owe that to my mother. She taught me to always be kind, understanding that you may not know the entire story of another persons life. I do my best to instill those same values into my daughter. It may take time for her to truly understand but I believe she will get there and is certainly heading that way.
This morning, my daughter and I were getting ready to head out of the door and I lost my balance, quickly having to catch myself and she laughed. Of course, it was completely innocent in her eyes but I decided to take that and turn it into a teachable moment in empathy. I gently asked her why she laughed at me when I was about to fall? I let her know that she will see many things in life and knowing when to laugh and when to offer a hand is going to be extremely valuable. She looked at me embarrassed and said “Sorry mama”. She really is sweet, it was a proud mom moment realizing she is learning to be an empathetic person.
The majority of the time I feel somewhat lucky that, for the time being, I have a somewhat invisible illness. Unless I am limping and need assistance from my cane, you would have no idea that I had a life altering disability. I acknowledge the fact that I am able to hide my MS well for the most part and I will continue to make every effort I can to become stronger everyday both physically and emotionally.
I love this song and what a memorable message. Here’s a little:
Tim McGraw – “Stay humble and kind”
“Hold the door say please say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got moutains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind”