- Written by Dr. Robyn Holder Dr. Robyn Holder
- Published: 01 December 2018 01 December 2018
My good friend suffers from an autoimmune disease that affects her balance and coordination. It’s gotten worse over the years, and she now needs to use a cane and often a wheelchair. When she goes to the grocery store, she has to use the power carts provided. She enlightened me recently, and I share her story with you so you too might become kinder, more patient and perhaps a little helpful to those who need assistance.
My dear mother would see individuals who were less fortunate than her and say, “there but for the grace of God go I.” As a young person, I thought this was, first of all, a weird way to speak, but I didn’t really understand it till my mom explained. She truly believed we were all made by God and that we all had purpose. So, if we saw a blind person using a walker’s cane, she would say that if it weren’t for God making us able to see, we could be that blind person. This little saying has given me a new perspective on things and I now often say it myself. Yikes! I’m turning into my mother!! HaHa. That’s usually not a bad thing 😊.
My friend expressed her frustration that more people aren’t considerate of those who need assistance. When she goes to the grocery store, for instance, and uses the shopper carts, they are often filthy, with trash in the basket, and in need of a good wiping! “Why can’t users take a moment to wipe them off? Why do parents let their fully able children play with these carts?” These are all questions she asks.
When she travels, if she is in a wheelchair, she is often ignored and disregarded, or more dangerously, run into by those walking under their own steam. “Couldn’t someone hold a door for her, or ask if they can help her reach something too high for her to reach from a seated position? Can’t people see that she needs just a little more space?”
My friend asks that people simply be thoughtful and considerate. She railed to me one day – “do they think I want to use this cane, wheelchair, etc.? It’s embarrassing and I’d simply like some respect.”
As some of our holiest days approach, think about your attitude and habits. When you see someone who might need assistance, offer it! Hold doors for people; give the right-of-way to someone whose physical abilities are impaired; mostly, just be kind.
As my mother would say, remember that, “there but for the grace of God go you” and treat those who need assistance with dignity and respect. I guarantee you’ll feel better for it! And from a health perspective, you may just be happier and less stressed because you care.
To Your Vitality!