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Taking time to acknowledge someone else…..

About 6 months ago I was at our gym, running on the treadmill. The area where the treadmills are set up allow you to see the entire room, who comes in and leaves, and everything that’s going on.

One day I noticed an elderly man coming in with this wife. He looked like he had been in an accident or maybe had a stroke. I could tell he was there for some type of “physical” therapy. It was painful for me to watch him struggling to walk, sort of shuffling his feet. It immediately reminded me of my mom after having radiation to her brain and having to try to relearn the most normal things we take for granted. I remember sitting on the side in the room where the therapists tried to help her relearn to do normal things. I tried not to cry watching this man, and had to look away a few times.

It made me really curious about what had happened, what he was going through and that his wife had probably a new job of being a care taker, just as my dad did with my mom. It was interesting to see everyone in the room sort of going about their own business. I thought surely I wasn’t the only one that was struck by this! I wanted to go speak to them but refrained. In the next few weeks I saw them off and on and always thought the same thing.

Last night I saw them for the first time in weeks. This time though, the man was in a wheelchair and his wife had to help him on and off equipment. I thought, “I have got to go over and meet them, ask them how I can pray for them.” I had no idea how they’d respond to it, so I was a little nervous. I don’t think I have ever gone up to a stranger and said that.

Finally I got up the courage and talked to them. Their names were Carolyn and Patrick. Patrick had apparently had a stroke 22 years ago but recently fell and broke his hip. I told Carolyn I had seen them and just really wanted to pray for them and the situation. I told Patrick I was proud of him for trying so hard! Carolyn’s eyes lit up when I talked to her, I guess just because I had acknowledged them. I don’t know if I have ever felt so good in my heart! I left holding back tears of thinking of their situation, but also that God had prompted me to do this and I followed.

How many times do we see people in need of a smile, a pat on the back, or just a kind word and never do it? I know I have numerous times and didn’t act on it for fear of how the person might react.

I would normally not share a story like this on a blog, simply because I realize that many gifts we give should be unspoken. I will say I in no way am boasting about doing this because like I said, there are many times I wanted to do this but haven’t. I am sharing it because it’s so important to do!! Not every day, not for everyone. BUT when your heart pulls at you and you are feeling you can make an impact. DO IT. It is SO incredibly easy to get caught up in ourselves, what revolves around us and the people we know. Get outside of that. There are way more important things and you could be using that time to make a difference for someone else. You could change someone’s life, or perspective. Taking that first step is all you need.

  • Christine Chambers - aww I just love this! There have been so many times that I get that tug on my heart from God to pray, or speak to someone, but I have a fear that they will think I’m “weird” or “crazy”… and just go on about my day. I always kick myself later on for dismissing it! Thanks for sharing this… it reminds me that God gives us those thoughts for a reason and to always listen to that little whisper. Love it!!! 🙂

  • Sally Watts - What a great story.
    It’s something I think about a lot–I feel like I’m being led to help or say something, and then another part of me fears that people will resent the intrusion, you know?
    I really admire that you just went over to them.
    It reminds me a lot of the Beth Moore story about the old man in the airport-on the Loving Well DVD.

  • Katie Green - LOVE this! Thanks for sharing, brought tears to my eyes!

  • Tara - printed this post for two reasons…one to remind myself to step out of my comfort zone and do the same and two to share with my bible study group to encourage them to do the same. Thanks Juliet!