An old man was on his way to a doctor’s appointment and was in a hurry since his got a late start. Bill, 70 years old, retired from his job four years ago. While driving he was complaining about the bad hand life had dealt him. “I was told after retirement that life really begins. It will be great now that you’re in your golden years.” “No rush to work, your time is your own, you can do all those things that you’ve been putting off.” One of which was to travel Europe with his wife as they had planned for years. “Yeh, some golden years!” While young I’d see my friends more than a doctor. Now I see doctor(s) more than I see my friends.” “And Europe is now on hold until some issues are resolved.” “Golden years, yeh”, grumbled Bill again. Suddenly Bill’s pity party is interrupted. He now has a new complaint. A school bus pulled in front of him at the last traffic light. “Oh, that’s great” Bill mumbled. “Now I definitely will be late for that damn appointment.”
As the school bus came to a stop, the children departed the bus and ran excitedly in all directions. Likely headed home to prepare for a sports practice or other outside school organized activity. Possibly meeting up with friends to go bike riding or simply to idle away the afternoon with them before homework must be tackled. Some of the parents who were there to greet and transport their children home had left with their sons or daughters. But one parent was still waiting on the sidewalk alongside the bus. Her child must have been the slowest of the bus riders, Bill thought to himself.
“Come on kid”! he shouted to himself as his impatience grew. He glanced at his mother who he expected to be as impatient as he was. But, instead, she calmly stood there. “What the heck is keeping this kid”, he thought. Then from the side of the bus a door opened, and a ramp of sorts slowly appeared. On that ramp was a little boy in a powered wheelchair. As the ramp lowered to ground level Bill’s impatience changed to curiosity. This is something one would not expect in the usual operation of a school bus. The boy powered up his chair with the touch of a finger and maneuvered off the ramp toward his mom. As he did so he looked back at his bus driver with a smile and a wave goodbye. As the driver retracted the ramp into the bus, Bill watched the little boy greet his mom with a hug and grand smile. Playfully the boy raced ahead of her as she was gathering up his book bag only to slow enough to let her catch up. After a brief giggle shared by them both, they made their way down the walk toward their home chatting along the way. Bill suspected that he was telling his mom all about his day at school.
Suddenly, Bill was ashamed of myself. He had been griping all day about his circumstances and inconveniences as the elderly often do, only to now be aware that the little boy, unlike his fellow bus riders, was not headed to baseball practice nor a bike ride with his friends. Bill now realized that his complaints were a waste of time. Because his self-pity had erased from his mind all the good fortune that he had until his present state. He truly had been blessed, with relatively good health, a wonderful wife and family, along with a successful career that he so enjoyed. Though his present challenges cause him discontent, they did not disrupt the better part of his life in any way. After this experience his, ‘woe is me’, attitude had changed to one of gratitude.
Bill’s ponderings were jolted by the sound of a horn from the car behind him. He was awakened to the fact that the bus that he regretted being stuck behind had pulled away. As he moved forward on his way to his appointment, Bill realized that that little boy who is bearing more challenges than he and likely more ahead, had taught him more about life and the appreciation thereof, than Bill, at his age, could ever hope to have taught him.
We all come into this life with a cross to bear. How soon the weight upon it begins to build and to what extent depends on unknown events from without and from within. The catalysts of these events may be natural, unnatural, by our own doing or another’s. Whether we allow our cross to make us or break us is left to our sole discretion as to what attitude we choose to embrace toward it. Our success or failure in this matter can be taken from the example at Golgotha, also known as the hill of Calvary, some two thousand years ago. The lesson comes not from “The Christ” but from the two thieves crucified on either side of Him. One asked to be taken down, the other asked to be taken up.
Thank you for sharing this story.
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