I was leaving Helen yesterday, as the end of my Anniversary weekend (18 years) came to an end. And we stopped in a small diner, and proceeded to order appropriate for the Straight 60.
My first question – “do you have anything that is turkey based for breakfast meat?” “No… well, we have bologna… oh wait, no thats not turkey. Well, deli turkey, but no turkey sausage or bacon or anything like that”. I could tell she had never been asked this question before, yet she moved around in this environment as if she had grown up inside of these walls. It simply wasn’t the typical question here.
She did a great job, working with us until we had two omelettes on the way, stripped completely of all bread, until we decided to bring the biscuits home for the girls as that special treat. It was an enjoyable omelette, they did well. I found one of the most enjoyable bits, when they brought us our coffee, in these mugs –
A Christmas mug and a Rooms to Go mug. We laughed pretty hard, and had it not been for the sweetness of this waitress, we would have simply labeled this place as nothing to remember. But, she worked hard for us, we enjoyed the omelette, found the mugs to be enjoyable, and the comment. That was the best part. This was the most enjoyable moment, as we laughed.
At the table next to us, the food came out, and we saw these two large men receive the typical superstar breakfast, served on four plates… pancakes, meat, eggs, bread, more bread, and more grain. All piled on this smallish table. Then, “Only Pancakes?!? You must be on a diet!” as she handed the plate over to the one woman at the table. A stack of pancakes that would make my stomach hurt (though my hollow legged 9 year old would likely make quick work of them), but the diet comment. It made me realize that this woman, this waitress, is living a life. Every day she is loaded with interaction, she might have a child or two at home, a family. She perhaps goes to a church on Sunday on the days she isn’t working, or perhaps she always works on Sunday.
But she is alive and having an impact on herself, and others, everyday. And yet she probably would look at everything I teach as absolutely foreign. It made me a little sad, but it made me more concerned. Concerned with how well we are sharing truth about health. Without condemning, judging, or creating guilt. How are we leading this world of ours into a better place? My mother in law shared this poem on her facebook page the other day. I thought it befitting for this moment.
A poem from an old man in a nursing home in the twilight of his years.
Cranky Old Man
What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . ..my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!
We need to all look a little closer at the world around us, and to love those people, and to hate the world they are in. Love this earth, but hate what is happening to it. Love the people, but hate the lies that are being told to them. See them for who they are, and to use love to reach them.
Be well and Be blessed. - Dr. E