Thursday, 4 April 2013

Guy on the Bus

On the bus home tonight I saw a fellow in a wheelchair covered from head to heel in compression bandages, with only his face uncovered. What little I could see of his face was a mess of 3rd degree burns, as, probably, was his entire body. He was gaunt and trembling; his fingers and toes kept curling and twitching, as if eternally reliving whatever it was that immolated them, and him. But this man spoke to his two companions with the kind of quiet, earnest and lovely emphasis that could only teach me one simple thing.

I was sitting on that very same bus, directly opposite this man. And I was fretting about my living situation, the ancillary strains attached to the best relationship I think I've ever had, my back pains that have been getting worse since the chiropractor started to fix them, my boss yelling at me today, and my assignment being late due to my post traumatic stress disorder acting up. I was fixated so negatively on all of this...while this beautiful man, this magnificent bastard, was just grateful to be alive.

I can't compare my life's trials to his, because they are individual. You are you, the burned man is the burned man, and I am me. Nobody can compare their life to another's. There is one thing that he and I, and you, too, have in common, however - and indeed, everyone else who has ever lived in this world. And that is the attitude we choose towards our lives.

This begged of me one question: if this welcome stranger on the bus can so eloquently, so silently, demonstrate such a singlemindedly gentle and inspiring joy of living that brought tears to my eyes, then what excuse do I have to bitch and cry?

My living situation is a minor thing compared to the prospect of being burned from head to toe. The relationship really is wonderful, what kind of moron would undermine it with such negativity? My back pains are being healed, it has to get worse before it gets better - but it *is,* for the first time in six years, *getting better!* My boss yells at everyone, but is a sterling and kindly gent underneath the grumpy old man syndrome, and nobody else takes his temper to heart - mostly they laugh about it. Why don't I? I do at times struggle with the residual impact of the traumatic life I've had, but I've made such progress that inspires literally everybody who knows my story - and I'm succeeding in my studies and everything that's important to me. So why the hell am I stressing?

The greatest power - such as that wielded by this burned man - requires the lightest touch. This is why God is all but invisible. And this is why the burned man didn't know or care what influence he had on me; he was just going about his business, blissful to be alive and blissfully unaware of the beauty of his spirit, and the lessons he'll no doubt teach, unconsciously, to anyone that crosses his path in life, so long as their hearts and eyes are open.

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