Thursday, November 3, 2011
A long time ago, I used to work at a farm supply store in a small town back in Saskatchewan. There was a lady who frequented our store that came mostly to use the bathroom. I am not sure if she had one. She spent most of her days wandering the streets, pulling her possessions in a wagon, rain or shine, sweltering heat or in the middle of a deep freeze, she was there. Her name was Rosemary, which I thought was a beautiful name. Her smile was beauty too. Her face transformed. The lines around her eyes deepening until only small slits of twinkling wonder were left. I would greet her and say her name, wondering if anyone else used it in an kind way. One day she came to use the bathroom. You could hear her talking to herself behind the closed door. Nothing that made any sense to anyone that could hear her, but she was communicating nonetheless. As she came out of the bathroom a trail of toilet paper dragged behind her like a train. People looked at her. You could see their thoughts swirling in the silent air. I couldn't bear to hear that silent roar of ridicule and disdain. As she reached the door to leave, I stepped behind her and put my foot on the paper trail. I helped her push open the door and told her to have a nice day. As I bent down to pick up that paper, I remember thinking that even thought most people thought Rosemary was crazy, she still deserved dignity and respect. She may never have felt humiliation or embarrassment but I would have, had I let her walk all over town that way. It hurt me that others would rather mock or laugh at the weak and poor among us. I was brave when it counted.
In my Heroes class this week, we talked about honor. We talked about how honor is a choice. We bring honor to ourselves when we give it away. Though others may never see how we choose to honor others, it strengthens us to do so. This is still a lesson that I need to keep learning. This life is not all about me. It's small acts of courage and love for others that can change things. I needed to be reminded of that today.