Sometimes a picture or a series of pictures are worth more than a word or a book. The following pictures are a good example of this fact. These series of photos were taken without my knowledge by my blogger friend Mark H. at my family reunion which was held this past October 9th.
The reunion was held at the East Brandywine Community Park near Downingtown, Pennsylvania on an unusually warm fall day. I had rented a pavilion for our reunion but there was also a lot of other activity going on in the park that day. Baseball and soccer teams were playing on this beautiful warm fall Sunday. The park also has a series of walking trails.
While our reunion was going full blast I noticed a man who came into our pavilion to rest. I recognized him. His name is Michael. I know his mother from my work at the polls. His father used to be (and might still be) one of the country magistrates. They are both lovely people. Michael is their only child. I think he is about 45 years old.
Michael was born without the use of his legs. He "walks" with the aid of two canes He actually walks with his arms using the two canes to propel himself forward. I've never seen Michael in a wheel chair.
When I lived in East Brandywine township, I often saw Michael walking alone on the trails in the park. I thought to myself, "what courage this man has." When I see someone like Michael I am reminded of the old saying "I used to complain about my shoes until I met a man who had no feet."
Every now and then, when I get caught up in my little petty complaints, I run into someone like Michael who reminds me how fortunate my life is by how he handles what life has dealt him.
On that Sunday, October 9th, Michael brought himself into our pavilion and asked if he could sit and rest for awhile. I of course said "Yes." Then he asked if he could have a drink of water. I got him a bottle. He asked if I could open it because he didn't have the strength to even open a bottle. Of course I opened the bottle for him.
I sat with him for awhile. We didn't say anything. I've never had a conversation with Michael. He knows who I am and I know who he is. I kept him company for about ten or fifteen minutes then I had to go back to my reunion duties. I wasn't aware that my friend Mark had taken these pictures. I am glad he did.
So now whenever I get caught up in my little dramas all I have to do is look at these pictures and see what Michael is faced with every day of his life. This is a my Reality Check.