Ever had one of those days where you feel overwhelmed before you even get out of bed? I’m on a last-minute deadline so I begrudgingly canceled all my plans for the next few days, knowing I was going to be writing away.
The one thing I couldn’t move was an appointment with an aspiring artist in town that a friend has asked me to meet. I knew there was nothing I could do to help him, but I was trying to be a good pal. It was one of those tasks that I resented having to do before I even stepped in the coffee shop where we were meeting. That’s a horrible way to present yourself and I was trying to shake it off and just be present for the meeting. But by the time I crossed the door’s threshold, I was annoyed at him for not taking my hint when I tried to cancel, annoyed at my friend for asking me to meet with him when he barely knows him himself, and mainly annoyed at myself for being such a wuss and not just saying, “No, I can’t meet with you this time. I’m sorry.” Well, it went worse than I could have even anticipated with the artist asking me for a favor that truly surprised me and there was no way I could do.
I made a quick getaway and ran to the grocery store to stock up since I’ll be working all weekend. As I’m huffing along, feeling very self-important and still irritated, I come face to face with a blind woman standing in the middle of the store with her white and red cane. I’m trying to figure out if I should approach her and ask if she’d like some assistance or if that will be insulting and presumptuous when a store employee comes up to her and asks her if she wants help. She says yes. Another employee comes to her with a cart and says hello. It was fascinating to see her other senses working overtime. She remembered the clerk by his voice and was concerned that the shopping cart handle felt wet to the touch. She was very confident and in command of how she wanted this shopping venture to go, pleasant yet forceful. I can barely manage to get around with all my senses in tact and here she was, brave and in charge.
Her strong presence completely shook me out of my own self absorption and right then and there I got over myself. So someone had taken 30 minutes of my time this morning and asked me for something totally inappropriate. All I needed to do was remember that a request is not a command. I didn’t have to do what he wanted. Plus, it was 30 minutes....not 3 hours. I’m not a brain surgeon; there was no loss of life because this person delayed my work for 30 minutes. I get to walk around this world, even stroll into meetings I don’t want to take, with all my senses intact and all my limbs working. Sometimes I need a little reminder of how precious that is.
Today's $10 goes to Helen Keller International. I remember learning about Helen Keller in elementary school and being totally fascinated by her. Keller founded HKI in 1915 and the NGO is dedicated to eradicating blindness, including blindness caused by malnutrition. It works in more than 22 countries.
March 15: Helen Keller International
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