My brother called me recently. His wife has been unwell for some time and needs a wheelchair whenever she leaves the house. As I shared my news that I had joined the ranks of wheelchair users, he described his amazement at the level of compassion people showed whenever he wheels her out. 'It surprises me, how genuinely caring and sorry people seem to be.' he said. 'I'm sure you will find that too!'
Three days ago I had my first outing around the block where we live. As soon as we left the front door our neighbours came out to greet us and it was true - there was sadness in their eyes. Indeed, the man almost seemed to well up. As they said how sorry they were and how they hoped the healing would improve they really seemed to mean it.
The next day we were more adventurous and went to a major store, with a Subway next door. As I was parked at a table by Carol, trying to protect my right leg which inconveniently lies horizontal, I found myself next to two ladies. "Oh, love,' said one, ' whatever's happened to you?' As Carol was buying our rolls (it took 15 minutes!) I found myself drawn into their counselling as they expressed their sorrow and told me how patient I should be (and what herbal drugs I should take!) True, in the big store there was less kindness in all the busyness but even there a store manager went with us to the car pushing our shopping cart for us because she said that I looked rather tired (and I was)!
At times it seems that compassion is in very short supply in our world but how wonderful it is to report from my own little experience (so far) compassion is alive and well, and adding a glow to the pain and awkwardness of disability. Thank you, all you compassionate people out there.