lonely old fella

I was at a nursing home this weekend to take a family photo for Thanksgiving.  (I don’t know why a nursing home was the chosen location, but my only guess is maybe that’s where Grandpa wants to live someday.)

Anyways, as the photographer was arranging each smaller sub-family in my gargantuan extended family, a little old man inched his way into the room.  One small step at a time after another, he leaned on his walker and pushed himself along until he found a sofa to sit on.  The only problem– that sofa was supposed to be used in our family photo.

I tried not to make a big deal out of it.  The man was tired.  The man had a routine.  The man was withering away without any happiness for crying out loud!  Plus, we didn’t have to use that sofa until each person’s position was set (and at the rate of distraction that runs in my family, that was going to take a while).

I began to hear chuckles.  Slowly those rolled into laughter, and then finger-pointing and jeering; whispering and more pointing.

I’ll admit, it was pretty funny that this little old fellow plopped himself right in the middle of our family picture.  He had no idea what was happening at the moment.  I don’t even know if he noticed all the kids– and even some parents– laughing at him.

…But what if?

It is important for people to be wary of their actions when others’ emotions could be at stake.  My mind always goes back to Columbine.

That was the first time in my life that I remember consciously changing the way I acted and spoke in public.  People might already have their own issues; it doesn’t make anything better when they hear or see you mocking, mimicking or making fun of them.

We all need to be more compassionate.  Why risk hurting somebody’s feelings when you don’t know what is already bothering them on the inside.  Maybe the old man was sad that his family didn’t all gather together like that anymore with him, so he wanted to sit near us in order to feel like a part of our family.

It doesn’t always have to be somebody who looks sad either…

Even confident people have their insecurities.  That’s not something I would want to mess with.

Perhaps if the rest of the world was more compassionate toward others, there wouldn’t be as much depression, dysfunction.  There would be more creativity, confidence and inspiration instead.

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