Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Double Take.

It's official. I'm writing my first blog. Although I've had this blog spot set up for quite some time now, I really haven't done anything with it... until now. I guess I just haven't had anything I considered really thoughtful or shocking to share. Don't get me wrong, plenty of cool and exciting things have happened since I opened this account. That's not it at all.

I've been distracted by Facebook, Twitter, and (gasp!) reality TV. I love it. I love it all. At the time, keeping up with a blog just seemed like too much maintenance and beyond the popular social network sites (I just remembered another distraction: LinkedIn) I post to regularly, I didn't think I had anything else particularly special to say.

Today I realized I was approaching this all wrong.

Special happens to me, to you, to everyone... everyday. I just wasn't taking time to acknowledge and appreciate just how fortunate I am as a participant in this world.

I had an especially tough morning at work dealing with some silly, yet extremely annoying issue and when lunch time hit, I decided I needed some retail therapy. Well, I'm on a tight budget, so I was in need of some look, but not buy, retail therapy. I went to Marshall's at the plaza up the street.

As I walked up to the door, I noticed there were a few people in front of me and there was a guy on his way out of the store that was holding the door open for everyone. As I walked closer to the entrance, I noticed the gentleman was disabled physically but was holding the door with both hands in order to let the others into the store. And from what I could tell, they weren't even bothering to thank him. It was as if he was invisible and they were entitled.

I was now about 10 feet away from the door, which is usually outside of the standard range of people hanging around just to hold the door for you. I completely expected the man to walk away and carry on to wherever his next errand was taking him.

When I noticed he wasn't going anywhere, it occurred to me: This was not an ordinary man.

He had decided to continue holding the door for me, no matter how long it took me to get to him. There was nothing particularly special about me. In fact, this wasn't about me at all. It was about one man, doing one very kind thing for about 5 people.

As I walked by him and through the door, I thanked him and he looked at me with a shy, embarrassed expression and tried to say you're welcome. I understood what he had said, but his face was distorted and scarred from what I assume was a horrible accident. He had been hurt so badly his lips were lopsided and stretched, the skin around his eyes so tight it barely seemed like he could see, and as he let the door go behind me, I noticed his shuffled limp as he walked away.

It's amazing how much detail I remember from a mere 10-second exchange. It was as if the moment stood still for me. Honestly, it did. I felt like I was a sponge and his energy had just spilled out all around me and my only purpose at that moment was to soak it up. Absorb it and grab as much of it as I could in those few short seconds.

Here he was, a man who I assume had experienced something so terrible the average person couldn't come close to understanding, and yet he was the one standing there, holding the door open, and looking at me as if he should be embarrassed of his appearance. He was, in fact, one of the most beautiful men I have ever seen in my life.

So much so, I took a double take as he walked away. I uninhibitedly got a little greedy and stood and stared as he walked away for another 30 seconds or so. That seems fast, but when you're standing in the lobby of a store, gazing out the window after a total stranger who is walking away... it's a long time and I'm sure others thought I was a whole lotta crazy. But if they just saw what I saw, they were wasting time staring at me.

In those extra 30 seconds, I kept thinking, "Wow." What an incredible man. It hurt me to think someone who looked like he had- a survivor of something- was embarrassed of what he looked like. Yet, he still went out of his way to take care of others and use those good manners his mother taught him... regardless of what he got in return.

He reminded me of Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice- the tortured gentleman. I can't compare him to Beauty and the Beast because all I think about when I think about that movie is that weird talking candlestick.

My point is... I was pretty special today. I was lucky enough to be touched by the kindness of this mystery man who in such a small amount of time reminded me of why we need to appreciate all the little joys each day. He made me feel special and because of him, I was able to put my morning into perspective and realize that I was just wasting energy thinking negatively.

He also showed me that amazing can come in a twisted face and a heavy limp and even in a slurred "you're welcome." He showed me amazing comes in the effort.

No matter what we do... we should at least try... even if it is just a blog. Here I am. I'm putting effort in... and that effort will come everyday that I remember to take time out and notice something special.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your special and positive moment. It's not everyday you find a gentleman!