Friday, January 04, 2008

A Touch of Redemption

Cuppa and I had a day in town (i.e. city) today. Of course we had several shopping errands to attend to, but we also took in a movie and a later dinner, and I need to tell you about an incident that occurred at the theatre.

Entering the complex right behind us was a somewhat older couple. The lady was pushing the gentleman in his wheelchair, and the guy was pushing a good-size oxygen tank. We held the doors open for them as they navigated their way inside, and they expressed their gratitude for this very small courtesy. We went on our separate ways, or so I thought, but I immediately encountered the same couple at the entrance to The Gents. The lady looked at me somewhat pleadingly and asked if I would mind navigating the gentleman into the loo.

Actually, I was delighted, and you will soon know why.

I helped the guy get his chair, himself and his tank into the large cubicle for those who require extra space. It was during this struggle that he informed me that he had been normal up until two years ago. I'm not sure what I said to that, but I'm fairly certain that it must have been something completely inane. Before he locked himself in, however, I seemed to surprise him by declaring that I would wait to help him back out when he was done. The exercise did take him awhile, long enough that his wife came to the door the door to call after him. I stuck my head out and assured her that everything was under control and that I would assist him when he was ready.

Well, I did just that, and they were both extremely thankful. But not nearly as thankful as I.

For it must have been slightly more than two decades ago when I let a similar opportunity slip by. It occurred in yet another theatre. As is my unfortunate habit during movies, at some point I was forced to excuse myself to attend to ... er ... details. While ... er ... attending, a handicapped man entered in his wheelchair. Back then handicap access wasn't up to today's standards, and the poor guy had a mighty struggle to get himself situated into a normal-size cubicle.

What did AC do to help to his fellow man? Absolutely nothing! It wasn't so much that I was being callous as that I was caught off guard and couldn't quite seem to fathom the proper course of action. Bathrooms do tend to be somewhat private places after all. However, I have felt badly for my dithering inaction for lo these twenty-plus years.

And that's why I was almost ecstatic to be gifted with this opportunity. The universe gave me another chance to do the right thing, and this time I was up to the task. It felt a little bit redemptive to tell you the truth. No ... actually it felt a lot redemptive. In fact, I feel wonderfully blessed!

The movie? Believe it or not: Atonement.

(And although it's really got precious little to do with this post, I declare it to be a film well worth seeing.)


Ruth said...

I like your new template.
I think awareness of the needs of the disabled has increased in the past 20 years and people are more comfortable doing the right thing. As the Boomers age, we may find ourselves in a long line with others needing assistance.

ChrisB said...

It is sometimes difficult to know when to offer help and when to allow people their independence even if it's a struggle for them. I know I've worked with people who resented being helped so don't feel bad about what happened 20 years ago.
You clearly did a good deed in helping this couple.
I haven't seen Atonement and the book is sitting in a must read pile so I might move it to the top of the list!

Heather said...

Nice post. I'm glad you got an opportunity for redemption.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Bless you, my son. You are forgiven!

I once was interested in a young woman who was a parapelegic. . . .

I finally moved on deciding I was not willing to cope with the problems, like getting her to the washroom in a theatre.

I, too, have had ambiguous feeling about this over the years.

Ginger said...

I was really touched by your story, AC. Thanks for sharing it. When giving or helping, I think the blessing is always at least 90% for the person helping out.

Coll said...

Love this post, A/C. It says much about the man you are.

Donna said...

What a wonderful gift!!! Not many of us "see" the oportunities for growth, even when they slap us in the face! I'm SO happy for you that you're free from that little "tugging" on your heart.
Have a beautiful,"sunshiney day"!

Pearl said...

Lovely post. It's wonderful when chance brings back a chance to make good like that.

Lorna said...

Template, good.

Coincidence, fortuitous.

Random act of kindness, inspiring.

Judy said...

Great post.

When people (mostly my kids) ask why I continue to blog, it is for reasons like reading this post.

To know that there are other people who deal with the same issues as I do on a daily bases.

After all, life is made up of moments and choices such as the one you describe here.

And they matter. They matter very very much!

Valerie - Still Riding said...

I heart you friend. I know you believe, too, in love and kindness and loving attention being important in this world.

You and I will have fun later!

Loved the smile in the fiddling picture. For me, good or bad, bringing smiles along with the tunes is what is important.

Paul said...

This post is an example of why I enjoy reading you. I'm grateful for jewels like this.

Anonymous said...

Your story brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps to my arms. Your friends in Flagstaff thank you for sharing your blessing.

seventh sister said...

as I read this, I was reminded of a story in a Richard Bach book,( I think it is in Bridge Across Forever) in which he and his wife meet several of their alternate selves. I am glad that you connected this opportunity with the one you had let pass years ago and saw it as teh beautiful gift that it was.