I was walking out of Walmart the other day and happened to see an elderly man at the check out counter. A hanger fell to the ground and he was struggling to bend his knees and hips enough to pick it up. I paused and watched him for a moment. This, in all the commotion, caught my attention and I paused.
He could have ignored it. No one may have noticed or cared. Someone else could have picked it up. Doing it was so difficult it attracted attention and could have been very embarrassing to him.
I’m sure my stopping to stare may not have been helpful. But, if he could have read my thoughts, he would have heard several things. I teach yoga and would have loved to be able to gently help him improve his range of motion over time. I wondered what his circumstances where that made such a normal movement so challenging. Maybe he had arthritis or a joint replacement.
But, most of all, I call it courage. His example burns in my mind as a triumph. He would not avoid trying it even though it was incredibly difficult, even though he had a big audience, and even though what was hard for him would be easy for most other people.
He had the courage to do it anyway. And he did it his way. Speed was less important than trying and succeeding at long last.
And he did succeed.
I don’t know what conditions he may have that limit his movements, but in most cases movement improves movement. Trying makes possible what was not possible before. And, even if physically he is no better off for reasons beyond his control, I am better off–
because he dared to do it –Anyway.