You never know where or when inspiration will find you
I don’t always pay attention my wife will tell you. Other times, something catches my attention and won’t let go.
That happened to me recently. I had gone to take my son in for his well check. The waiting room was nearly empty. The only other people there were a mom and her little boy. He looked a little bit younger than Charlie. As is sometimes the case, we struck up a conversation. She told me that she had arrived nearly an hour early. She brushed her hair out of her eyes, and I noticed that she had a hearing aid. She explained matter-of-factly that she didn’t have transportation of her own and she didn’t want to take chances on bus connections. “My boy’s appointments are too important. I have to make sure he gets here and that he is doing good.”
“Maybe they can take you in first or they’ll be running ahead of schedule,” I tried to offer helpfully.
“I don’t mind. I am just glad to be here with him. Do you know that when I was little they told my parents I wouldn’t even live long enough to grow up! ”
Her son and mine were looking at each other across the table of toys in the office. One was rolling a car and the other was ‘galloping” a toy horse. She had her bag of things for her son just like I had mine. She smiled, and her son saw her and smiled back.
In my imagination, I could see the doctors huddled around the little baby, the parents holding her fearfully. The white-coated man probably began apologetically.
“I’m so sorry. She probably won’t live past the age of ten.”
Remembering how I felt with my son in the NICU, I can imagine the father’s eyes wetting. Maybe he cried silently with quick hot tears running down his cheeks. Maybe the mother sobbed or screamed. Maybe she was silent. The little baby girl’s health issue remained a mystery to me. I don’t think it really matters what it was. That baby didn’t know she faced long odds, but she still overcame them.
I don’t know the young mother’s details. I barely met her, but when I thought about her at home that night I was inspired. A life that wasn’t even supposed to happen but did. Here she was: a survivor. She had grown up. She was a mom. She made sacrifices to make sure her son was doing well. Here was a hero that had never walked out in front of a cheering crowd at a stadium. She never made a billion dollars or appeared on the cover of a magazine.
How many people walk in our midst every day that could inspire us? People with stories of their own that are very different from ours? Different joys? Different struggles? But they are still our brothers and sisters that can inspire.
Do you have a story of someone that surprised you with inspiration?
I would like to know about it: Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org.