I watched a video on Facebook the other day. It was one I had seen before, but it always seems to get me right in the heart.
Two young men pose as disabled people who fall on the sidewalk. One is dressed in a business suit and the other is dressed as a homeless person. The businessman is helped every time he falls by anyone who is near by. The other man is never helped even though there are people stepping around him in both directions. Finally the man is helped by someone…a homeless man who is sitting against a building, panhandling.
The irony and hypocrisy of these scenes were definitely not lost on me.
I have not made it to my church very much in the last few years. It has not been out of lack of interest in going or laziness. It has just been my health and fatigue.
Last year I went to the church’s grad and Christmas banquets. I was tired and dressed for comfort but didn’t put a lot of thought into my appearance. People were glad to see me, but when they asked how I was I said “I am here”. There wasn’t a lot of conversation.
Last weekend was this year’s grad banquet. I was really sore, still having difficulties getting control of my blood sugar and quite tired from two shopping trips that day. However, I had just found out I lost five pounds and had bought some organic, hypoallergenic eye make-up. I put on the “little black dress” Hubby bought for me and was so surprised that I felt really good in it, even with it being shorter than I like. I put on the make-up as best I could with shaky arthritic fingers and was ready to go. Oh yes, I got a hair cut earlier in the day too!
So, even though I wasn’t physically feeling up to going, mentally and emotionally I wouldn’t miss it for the world! One of my “kids” was graduating and I told his Mom that if I was tied to an IV pole I would be there!
We barely got out of the van and people were so glad to see us and telling me I looked amazing! We got in the door and I found my graduate who gave me a big hug and thanked me so much for being there. If anyone could understand having to give an extra effort it is him!
People were coming up to us from the minute we got there and saying how they missed us and were glad to see us. They would remark I looked tired but was so beautiful and how good it was I made it out. And I felt beautiful. I felt missed and loved. I felt like a visitor in my own church, but I have realized that wasn’t a bad feeling. It was just a matter of fact – we hadn’t been there for a long time! My attitude change about my health affected my appearance in a positive way, and the attitudes of those people who talked to me.
So, what does this have to do with the title and the opening story? Everything!
It was MY attitude that changed, not that of the rest of the crowd at the banquets. I was feeling emotionally strong which made the physical problems easier for both me and the people around me. I wasn’t dwelling on it, just explaining facts. My pastor thought I was crying when I told him about my diabetes being another challenge. The tears were actually because I was moved by my young friend graduating and the skill of a young woman who made the cakes. I have given my health to God and am no longer going to let it affect me.
The first story does not show that people will only help their own kind. What it shows is attitude. Some people may believe that someone on crutches who is dirty and carrying a lot of stuff deserves the life he/she has chosen for themselves. Others may think that if they touch him they will get dirty or even sick. As for the man in the suit, people could feel sorry for him and help him.
Let me ask you some questions:
- What if you knew the “homeless man” actually had a good job, a family and a home, but lost them because he suffered from a mental illness? He had no one to look after him and ended up on the street. He was on crutches because someone had mugged him for a watch that was his only link to his old life.
- What if you knew that the “business man” was on crutches because he was in a fight with the husband of his lover and he fell because he had a few too many drinks?
- Do you think these facts would change the outcomes of how these men were treated?