Friday, May 8, 2015

I am still learning

   Bicycling last night along a country road Mandy and I were approaching a guy walking the same direction as we were and on the same shoulder of the road. As we got closer we crossed to the opposite shoulder. The guy looked a little rough around the edges if you know what I mean. Upon arriving at home Mandy discovered she had lost her cell phone. I thought someone had stolen it when we walked into the general store. It turns out that it had fallen out of the pocket of her saddle bag along the road somewhere between the store and home. She took our daughter and drove the route we biked but was unable to find it. A few minutes later our home telephone rang. The gentleman on the other end said he had found a phone on the road. I drove to his location and the guy gave me the phone. It was the guy we had passed on the road. The guy I didn't want to ride close to. The guy I had judged as a tweeker or what have you. The guy I avoided was the guy that took the trouble to look in the directory for an emergency contact number to return the phone to its owner.

   I am a terrible person!!! I thought that I had grown as a human being in my fight against this disease. As it turns out I have a lot of growing left to do. 
  I had decided in advance that I was going to give the caller 20 bucks for being a Good Samaritan. When the guy gave me the phone and I handed him the twenty he was really grateful. When I realized it was the guy walking down the highway I felt like it should have been more. Way more!
  We live in a world where the majority of people judge character by appearances.
The guy on the highway was dirty. He was walking. His clothes looked like they hadn't been washed in days and he was smoking. I judged him based on his appearance as someone to steer clear of. 
   We put athletes and celebrities on pedestals. We admire the wealthy and affluent. Far too often they are not worthy of the adoration we bestow upon them. How many professional athletes do we hear about using drugs, abusing their families, raping women, and even committing murder?  Are celebrities any better? 
   I have learned a lot about myself in the last 9 years. In the last 24 hours I learned that I still have a lot more to learn. A donkey in a 3 piece suit is still a donkey. Likewise, a good man wearing dirty tattered clothing is still a good man. People are people. Some are good some are not. The wrapping paper is not what is important. The Hawaiians say " Mai Iloko Mai" loosely translated it says " that which is within matter"
   One thing about having a terminal illness is that everything you think or do has a sense of urgency. Maybe it's real and maybe it's imagined but the truth is that I may not have as much time to get it right. 
   Change is never easy. It is usually a slow process. I hope the next time I start to judge a person on appearance I will stop and think about yesterday. I hope I will take a second look and remember that I could have been that guy walking down the road. The truth of the matter is that not long ago I was.Todd