Yesterday was cold. Not freezing, rainy, or blustery but still cold. Inside the gym, mid afternoon, it was nice and warm. Almost no one was there but me. Looking out through the big windows I saw a frail, elderly man negotiating the curb just after precariously getting out of his car. He had a cane and struggled to get to the door and, then, inside. I breathed a sigh of relief when he made it.
He was alone and made his way over to the leg machines. Again struggling, he carefully got situated and started exercising to strengthen his legs. This was the easy part for him. Getting there had required a monumental effort. I was torn between "wanting to help", and knowing he needed the dignity of his independence.
On the way home a tall figure hunched way over and bundled up in a big brown coat, hood, and gloves caught my eye. He was "running", barely, on the side of the road. I looked over and here was yet another "old" guy on a mission, determined to get his exercise that day. I'm not a runner, never have been, and I always admire anyone who is. I really admired this man. Barely making it, he was putting one foot in front of the other, very slowly, awkwardly. But he was doing it.
|Wonder what he is thinking?|
I feel like I live with one foot, or at least a few toes, in the world of the elderly through the experiences of my mom. So maybe I am more sensitive to their issues than I would be otherwise. Not sure. But I just wanted to cheer both of these men. I wanted to say, "Yae!", and clap loudly so everyone else would start clapping and cheering too. I also wanted to take one home for my mom but that's another story...
Each one of them was doing what he could. Neither one was saying,
"It's too cold."
"I'm too tired today."
"I just can't make it."
"I'm too old."
They were doing what they could. They were surmounting obstacles. They were embracing the day. They were clinging fiercely to their independence. If the exercise doesn't make them stronger their attitudes will. I honor them and wish them whatever they want. My heroes.