A dear friend shared a message with me and called it a ‘Morning Encounter ’As I read the message it resonated on so many levels that I have decided to share it with my reading audience in its entirety.
I had a strange experience the other morning, as I was in the process of returning to my building after taking my daily walk in the environs of my building which has extensive internal landscaping, sidewalks, many beautiful trees, a swimming pool, and a generally safe and serene environment.
As usual I was placing peanuts at the base of some of the trees knowing that the squirrels which were too lazy to come down and get them would get around to the peanuts eventually, or the greedy ravers who kept the area under constant surveillance would make off with them.
I ran into a nice lady who was walking with a cane although she really did not appear to be very old she was coming out of my building and seemed to be headed to the nearby parking garage after she saw me feeding the animals.
‘ How nice of you to provide for the little creatures’, she said in a friendly way, catching me off guard a little I was pleased that she felt good about feeding the squirrels-not everyone does.
We began to talk and stood there for a few minutes getting to know each other and just chatting.
In the first few minutes that we talked we exchanged limited information about one another. I cannot recall exactly what I told her about myself in those moments, however she admitted to having some sort of disability, which I imagined must have been related to her use of the cane.
She also indicated she was on the way to see her Mother who lived in a nearby assisted living facility. She also mentioned somewhat ruefully that her mother had been perpetually unhappy ever since her children had placed her in the home, so I sensed that the lady was making this trip with no small amount of reluctance, despite her concerns for her Mom.
‘What is your name?’ she finally asked me. And how long have you lived in the building?’ I told her my name and how long I had lived in the building. She told me the same and we shook hands, in recognition pf our somewhat belated formal introduction and continued to talk.
A few minutes later, almost out of the blue, she said: ‘What is your name? How long have you lived in the building?’
As bright as I sometimes claim to be, I must confess that it did not hit me until she asked the same question that I had answered three times that her disability extended quite a ways beyond her use of the cane. In the ten or fifteen minutes that we stood there talking I estimate that she asked the same two questions perhaps a total of eight times. Since she offered me her hand every single time we shook hands at least eight times within our conversation.
I finally put an end to it by reminding her that her Mother was waiting for her and had probably begun to wonder where she was. I also explained that I needed to get upstairs where I had several things I needed to do.
We went our separate ways. She no doubt to face the wrath of her Mother and me left to muse over the meaning of this still warm nugget of experience life had just deposited.
As I rode up the elevator I thought about the times I had forgotten to take my morning or evening medicine, or the times that my son asked “did you mean to leave the oven on?” Or the times when I have gotten into a room and could not remember what I had come in the room to do. Since I have been forgetting things for years it was difficult for me to tell to what degree aging was contributing to a phenomena with which I had been dealing with for twenty years,
A small voice somewhere deep inside my brain said to me internally; of course there is always the explanation that perhaps I have been old for twenty years! But let that pass!
And that is exactly what I did with that thought: Let it pass!
My conclusion is that my memory is pretty good although I use more memory tricks or other kind of reminders than I ever used in my life.
I do not try to conduct the entirety of my affairs only in my head as I was apt to do years ago. Age has not rendered my memory too suspect, however I definitely think it is a factor in a slow decline.
Lord, I thought, thank you so much for watching over and guiding us through our lives, even before we were born and even through the proud and arrogant ignorance of our youth, and through the humbling uncertainty of our aging, and long after our bodies return to the dust.
We should never take for granted any of the wondrous miracles of life. Waking up, being able to open our eyes and see, open our mouths and speak, to be able to rise to our feet and walk, to use our mental faculties to feel, think, analyze, smile, laugh, and even at times weep—all of it is a very big deal!
What UHQC was sharing with me was a simple reminder to be in the moment with a gratefulness for all of your working faculties.