I got to meet and help a blind man the other day, and it was really cool. I was coming into the grocery store to do my usual after-work shopping, when I noticed a fellow coming in, tapping with his cane. He seemed to be doing all right-ish, but he didn’t have anyone to help him. I walked past, then paused and came back. “Do you want help?” I asked. My grandma had polio when she was sixteen, and I grew up learning to notice people who need help. And I have screwed up knees, so I understand wanting help.
He smiled and said he would like that. I took his hand, but he asked if he could take me by the elbow (I guess that’s how it’s usually done). He was really sweet. He was a black man, perhaps late thirties or so, and dressed up all nice. I found out he was going to Hawaii on vacation. I told him I’d been years ago, and loved it there. I said, “It’s beautiful,” then paused.
Hawaii IS beautiful. What would it be like to not be able to see it though? I wondered if he had been blind from birth, or if he’d ever seen the world. And if he couldn’t see the world, did he enjoy having all his other senses be a lot stronger? What would it be like to “see the world through HIS eyes?” as it were. And what did he dream about? My dreams are always so vivid. Did he dream about sounds and tastes and what he could hear? What would that be like? What had his childhood been like? Did he know Braille? And did he love reading as much as I did?
He asked me if I was an employee, or just shopping. “Nah,” I said, “Just shoppin’.” He was really fun to chat with. “It must be really hard,” I said, “to get around. Though,” I added, “I suppose you find ways around it.” He laughed. “Yes, you do,” he said. I think one of my gifts from God is cheerfulness and joy. I love making people laugh and smile.
Sometimes (most times) blessing others is actually more like them blessing you. And we each have gifts we are meant to share. Like: Me being able to see. That was my gift to him that day.
I know, walking with me, he was able to navigate ten times faster. I usually take on the world at a brisk walk, and it was fun helping him navigate through the other shoppers as we made our way to customer service. I left him at the front desk, telling him to have a great time in Hawaii, and letting him know that the lady at customer service was on the phone (it must be hard being led to a place, but not being able to see, and hoping that the person leading you actually led you to the right place). I hope I brightened his day.
It was just really cool, and I felt blessed (I think it was a God thing) that I JUST HAPPENED to be walking in the door the same time he was.
This world is full of cool people. You just have to look. I know he brightened my day, and I’m sure I brightened his. I left him with: “Hope you have a great time in Hawaii!” I hope he does. It’s a beautiful place.