Thursday, August 13, 2009
Grateful for “standing on one leg.”
I slammed on my brakes. Arriving at a crossway in the center of town, a pedestrian was about to cross the street. He was navigating a mechanized wheel chair, a red flag perched at the rear announcing caution and care. The elderly man looked mad; tubes stuck out of his nose; his complexion was ashen and the skin of his bare legs was a raw red.
I could not help but watch him hurriedly roll by and imagine how difficult a life he must endure. Wondering about his destination I learned that he was on his way to the town library. I continued my ride.
On the way, I passed a local cemetery, one that would capture my fascination with each
ride by. On a hill, the stones dark gray, even black, many barely standing , tilting to one side. One stone stood on one point of its four corners, seemingly defying the force of gravity.
In life and in death, we are often left with only one leg to stand on. The gentleman crossing the crossway had his library, a book would support his final days, however painful and humiliating. The deceased had a stone, however unstable, to remind the world of his life. As long as it stood, even on “one leg,” it defied oblivion.
Whatever our handicaps and infirmities, we have a leg to stand on, some part of life that sustains us and helps us understand that life is, in the final analysis, worthwhile. It falls to us to recognize this support and find gratitude for it. If we do, we can, I believe, overcome any crossway and arrive safely on the other side.