There is a gentleman who lives in our area that I regularly see out walking the neighborhood. He always catches my eye. Using a quad cane, he ever-so-slowly takes one very small step after another, inching along with purpose and determination. He appears to be a victim of a stroke, half his body paralyzed, but obviously working very hard to rehabilitate.
When I see him, I feel infused with strength in my own struggles.
Yesterday I was riding my bike when I glanced to the other side of the street and noticed this man was on his hands and knees, dried grass covering his back, trying to reach for his cane on the concrete beside him. “Do you need help?” I hollered over, my voice cracking as I assessed the situation, realizing he had fallen.
“Yes, please,” he humbly responded with a garbled voice.
I raced over to his side, put my arms around him, feeling the heat of his broken body and tried to help him rise. He couldn’t get up.
“Try the other side,” he recommended with slurred speech.
I quickly moved to his other side, put my right shoulder under him as I pulled his arm around me and slowly lifted him up. He stabled himself with his cane, once again standing. I began to dust the dried grass off his back. He looked at me and smiled, half his face paralyzed, “Thank you.”
“Of course,” I said smiling back at him.
“I’ve never fallen before,” he continued, a little sheepish about his stumble.
“Sir, I see you walking all the time. You inspire me. You inspire me so much!”
His eyes sparkled while his half-smile grew.
“I’m Christina. What’s your name?” I asked.
As we were chatting a woman drove up in her car, rolled down the window and called out to Chort, “I saw you fall. Do you want me to drive you somewhere?”
“No, thank you,” he responded.
I piped in, proud of him, “He walks everywhere. He’s just gonna keep walkin’!”
She drove off and I gave Chort a pat on the back, “It was such a pleasure to meet you. Enjoy the rest of your walk.”
As I hopped back on my bike and rode away, tears pooled in my eyes. The resilience, determination, and strength-of-spirit in my new friend were a reminder to keep walking. Even when I’m just inching along in my brokenness, keep walking. When I stumble or fall, keep walking.
Don’t give up. Keep walking.