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Wise words from the little man at the VA clinic

While at the VA clinic (the veterans' hospital--in case you don't know), I sat waiting to see the doctor. I watched an elderly man approach the receptionist....moving very slowly with the aid of a walker, with his back permanently bent at a 90 degree angle. I wondered how painful that position must be for someone to be in every second of their lives. But he didn't complain.

He was dressed in a 3-piece suit and I figured it probably took him at least an hour to dress himself that morning to make his appearance at the clinic. He creeped across the floor, sliding his walker in front of him and turning his head to the side in order to see where he was going.
After checking in at the desk, he made his way to my area and before he sat down, he said,

"Well, I was gonna come over and ask you for a date but...." the rest I couldn't decipher so I just smiled politely. I watched him maneuver himself and his walker and was intrigued with the amount of effort it took him just to sit down. I thought to myself, "Damn. As much as my back hurts me from day to day, I'm grateful I'm not confined to that body."

Once he was seated next to me, he looked up at me with his grey-blue eyes and we smiled and exchanged a silent hello. He wasted no time at all and offered me some words of advice on relationships.

He asked me if I was married and I told him I was not. He said....

"Well, I wanna give you some advice for when you get married or when you get a boyfriend, some words that a lady once told me.....

NEVER argue. DISCUSS. There's a lot of difference between arguing and discussing something. Sit down with each other and talk about it. You may end up seeing things differently or he may end up seeing them differently or you both may just learn something from it. Arguing just creates bad feelings toward one another.

Also....Never use the words 'never' or 'always' in a discussion."

Just as he finished speaking those wise words, a man walked up and offered to help him to the canteen for lunch. He accepted the assistance and as he sat down into the wheelchair provided, he turned to me once again and said....

"Those are lessons that took me 70 or 80 years to figure out. Probably no one else will ever tell you."

Then as he was escorted to the van, I wondered why....out of all of the people in the waiting area.....he had chosen me to offer his wisdom to.

I guess it doesn't really matter though. I was listening. And that makes it worth the effort it took that man to carry that little lesson to me.

And I am grateful.

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Comment by David Velasquez on January 19, 2010 at 6:23am

Keep writing and thanks for sharing the wisdom. What we are freely given, we should freely give.

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