The boys and I went to a benefit dinner last night. Paul stayed home. I told the boys he wasn’t going with us, and Elias said, “Papa’s in trooooooouble!” (Because why else would you be forced to stay home from an outing?) He seemed pretty happy about that, for some reason. I was just happy not to be mowing the lawn, which is what Paul stayed home to do since it rained all week and we were afraid the lawn might actually start to take over.
What was I saying?
Oh, right. We went to a benefit dinner for a local school that specializes in conductive learning, which I frankly don’t know much about, except that it is designed to help kids with serious motor challenges and it appears to be doing amazing things for the kids that attend – a friend of mine has a son there. Also that keeping a school like this funded is as easy as pushing a boulder up a hill while trying to keep your toddlers out from underfoot. Hence the benefit dinner.
So when the most excellent World War II veteran sitting next to me at the picnic table started talking about being a Mason and all of the medical services they provide for children, I didn’t think very much about it, because that kind of thing was sort of in the front of everyone’s mind. He mentioned there is a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania. “Oh yes!” I said. “I think another of my friends has taken her son there several times. It’s wonderful.”
He was terribly glad to hear that, since sometimes people are too proud to ask for help, he’s heard. “Well,” I said, “it’s true that it can be really hard to accept help. Even if you need it. But everybody needs a little help from time to time, I think.” He seemed delighted with me.
He kept bringing it up, in between stories about his late wife (they were married for 67 years) and places he’d lived, and he told me that anyone needing help for their children could ask anyone they knew was a Mason, and finally, he turned to me with all the kindness in the world in his eyes, and said, “And you know, I think God chooses special women for these special children**.”
And finally, FINALLY, the penny dropped.
When we sat down, he’d seen me pull little containers out of my pockets and put a whole whack of pills down in front of Levi. Who then swallowed them six at a time, clearly having had a lot of practice.
He was talking about us.
I was so surprised I almost laughed out loud. I’m not in denial that Levi has a medical condition (believe me, I know), but mostly, when he’s not coughing like it’s his job and there’s no special stuff going on, I just don’t think about it very much. I don’t think about the pills; the pills just are. And because I have the loudest mouth in my little corner of the internet, pretty much everyone I know already knows what the pills are about too.
Every once in a while I’m thumped over the head by things I know to be true but had forgotten, or just not thought of much lately.
- We really have no idea how we appear to others. It’s not something we should spend too much of our time thinking about, because constant image management is a black vortex of failure and despair, but sometimes we get snapshots of how we look from the outside. And isn’t that educational.
- Human beings can get used to almost anything. And on the list of Things That Must Be Endured, I think what we’ve got going on is pretty manageable.
And can we talk about the 91-year old man who did his very best to get through to the mom of the little boy he’d just met, who might need some help? Even though she was terminally oblivious?
Isn’t he great? Lots of people are just great. It’s easy to forget that, too.
** We can argue this philosophy some other time, but I’m not so sure that’s true. (Even know I know he meant it kindly.)