Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Free lessons

Some "free lessons," courtesy of ... wherever such things come from. We each have our own name for the source of Life Lessons. One gets free lessons from That Place all the time, one just isn't always listening... But today, I'm not here to talk about the name of The Source, I just want to share the lessons it gave me.

One waking, one in a dream. And exactly the same lesson!

Waking: A very nice person is helping me load my wheelchair into my truck. The wheelchair folds in the middle (high-school-math flashback moment: if the X axis is the direction of forward motion, and the Y axis is the way your trunk goes UP and your legs go DOWN when you're sitting in the chair, the Z axis is the axis through which it folds). Anyway, in this moment of folding, he traps my ankles between the leg pads; I'm now trapped inside the wheelchair, the chair (and I) ain't going nowhere. Fortunately, I catch it, and stop him before he causes any harm.

And I respond very calmly, because I know instantly that he just didn't see what was going on... at least, not what I was seeing (and feeling, as the footrests captured my ankles). I had no rancor, no panic, no resentment, just ... realization. He didn't see it.

Dreaming: I'm back at my old workplace (or a "dream version" of it, which doesn't map geographically to the dream landscape, but like all dream landscapes, it has its own logic). A car is parked at the top of the hill, right next to the stairs that I'm about to descend... I get out of my wheelchair to walk--really walk--towards the stairs and the railing that I'm hoping to use to make the long trek down. I set my hand on the hood of the car, and its driver backs up (something I suppose he was going to do anyway). I don't hit the ground, losing my handhold on the hood of the car doesn't cause any harm to either of us; car backs away. I make it without incident to the stair-railing on my left, somehow attract the driver's attention; I'm about to talk to him, and then I wake up.

And awake now, I think... what was I going to say to him? I realize instantly that it was, "We didn't see each other." We didn't. No rancor. No resentment.

And the lesson is, I think, that there's zero rancor possible once one realizes that The Other was simply not cognizant of what you saw. They simply did not see it. There's nothing to be angry at, or about. They just ... didn't see.

Now all of us in wheelchairs have experienced this, or something very much like this. Our Pusher puts us somewhere, or leaves us somewhere, that from our point of view is a Bad Idea. And we forget that from their point of view, it was a Perfectly Good Idea. Or c'mon, why else would they have done it, had it not been a perfectly good idea?

And really, let's be honest, why do we--why does anyone--do anything? Everyone does everything for exactly the same reason...

"It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Life offers us many lessons. When they come free, without cost... the wise will listen.

And learn.


Muffie said...

I can relate to the wheelchair being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I take it, though, as my husband just NOT paying attention -- and he's says the same. "Oh, I just wasn't thinking..." Sometimes I do get upset, especially if the person to whom I wanted to speak picks up the conversation with the Pusher! Grrrr...

Robert Parker said...

Fortunately, why other people just don't see is, as the saying goes, above our pay grade. And, to be honest, do we watch ourselves so carefully to find out why we don't see?