I’ve been in a real funk lately. I get that way sometimes. I’ll feel sorry for myself because things are not going exactly how I would like them to go.
Yesterday my perspective changed. I met Linda.
While flying to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport from Raleigh, North Carolina, to meet up with a friend, I sat next to Linda on the plane.
We started talking and I asked to where she was traveling. She explained that she was going to Colorado Springs, Colorado. I mentioned about the fires there and she said, “Yes, I know. My mother’s house burnt down last night. A neighbor helped her escape before the house caught fire.” She went on to explain that her 85-year-old mother was still grieving the recent death of her husband who died a long and painful death from colon cancer.
As we continued talking, I learned more about this Linda. She and I are the same age. She is completely blind in her left eye, has partial vision in her right eye and is, by all definitions, legally blind. She has difficulty walking because she suffers from kidney disease and will eventually have to go on dialysis. She is unable to drive a car and is dependent upon her husband and the kindness of friends to get her where she needs to go.
Linda was a bit nervous about flying by herself. She had always traveled with her husband, but he was unable to accompany her on this last-minute trip. She explained that she needed to have a wheelchair to get around the airport.
Linda told me that she went totally blind eight years ago. Last year the doctor removed a cataract from her right eye just so he would be able to check her eye for Glaucoma. There was no expectation that it would improve her eyesight. But to her amazement and pure joy, when they removed the bandages she could see light and blurred images. She said it was wonderful to hold her five-year-old granddaughter and see her face.
Linda was thankful that she was able to visit her dad before he passed. She stayed with him everyday for the last three months of his life while he was in the hospital. She watched his body diminish and consoled him in his pain. She said she was so happy to have spend those last weeks of his life with him.
Linda said that when she was diagnosed with kidney disease, a friend of hers told her that her life was over. She doesn’t see it that way. She says now is the time to start living your life. And here is Linda: blind, hardly able to walk and with, I am sure, pain and other health problems, helping her parents with their struggles. How much easier it would be for her to lament her own situation.
I continued with Linda when we departed the plane, then walked alongside her as she was pushed in a wheelchair until we arrived at the gate for her connecting flight to Colorado Springs. I sat with her until she was called to board the plane. We hugged each other and said goodbye. She thanked me for staying with her and calming her nerves.
Linda, you gave me a gift yesterday. You changed my perspective. I am going to live my life and be grateful for my problems and challenges.