23 January 2014
(Every once in a while I get a little thoughtful. Don't worry, I'm sure it will pass soon.)
I was leaving the gym today and it reminded me of an experience last semester. That day, I was leaving the gym after racquetball. When I came to the stairwell, there were some labored noises from around second flight of stairs. I couldn't see what was going on at first, but the students at the university work with disabled students as part of their course work, so already had some idea. (Regardless of whether or not it's for their classwork, I think those students—or anyone who works with the disabled—are saints.)
When I made it to that level, it was as I suspected. Two of our students and a faculty member were helping a disabled individual down the stairs. She had a helmet on for her own safety and obviously needed the assistance to get down the stairs. There is an elevator that they could have used, but even though she couldn't speak, I could see how determined she was to get down those stairs. She was also immensely frightened.
Her head occasionally snapped back—something beyond her control—but the students were there to help her. She walked down, step-by-arduous step. Her breathing was labored from the effort, but there was no stopping her. I walked slowly behind the group, listening to the encouragement from her entourage. It took a few minutes and I was more than happy to let her make it down without feeling the need to squeeze by and rush about my day. Her foot cleared the last step and she made it to the bottom safely. A small cheer went up and smile spread across her face. Everyone, including myself, congratulated her.
I counted my blessings and was even thankful for my problems as I walked back to my office. I also realized the power of achievement. We don't all have the same skills in the same degrees, but you should always be proud of what you have pushed yourself to do. Don't let anyone belittle your accomplishments and, more importantly, never belittle anyone else's. For some, two flights of steps is their Everest.