I recently had some minor surgery that made it impossible for me to bear weight on one leg for a solid month. I have had a few occasions where friends and family have taken me out and offered to push me around in the wheelchair. Getting out of the house was a relief and spending 3 hours in a book store a real pleasure, but I hadn’t thought about the way people would look at me. I appear to be a healthy woman. There is no cast. I struggled a little pushing myself down the aisles, but people immediately gave way to let me pass. I imagined counting their own blessings as I slid by.
When checking out, I noted the cashier spoke to my son, rather than me. Offered to help fill out the form for a discount card. All very kind attention paid to someone who obviously might need assistance, so, I was grateful for the help. The thing that struck me though--beyond the furtive glances and outright stares, was the tone of voice being used. As if I were a young child with a teacher. Or an elderly patient that was confused. I suppose it was just out of consideration, in case, but while I understood it, I was offended too.
This made me wonder if I had not done the same thing before. If it was a natural reaction for most, certainly in my generation, and why we never considered how condescending it might seem. Politically Correct phrases and descriptions are changing every day. I just had a conversation where I chose a PC phrase and was told it was no longer PC. How do we keep up? What is best the best way to not offend someone?
Personally, I think it is a bit out of hand. Now before you attack me, let me make it perfectly clear: I believe that we are all human beings and should be kind to one another regardless of: INSERT SENSITVE ISSUE HERE. We try so hard to not say the wrong thing that we are not saying the right thing either. Why can’t we interact human to human? Why can’t we empathize with those around us whether there is an obvious ‘issue” or not. The current state of politics in the US has put everyone on guard and the progress we have strived for is at risk of being reversed, which is terrible, but even worse is the way people are turning against one another.
I have had friends say they wish they had my life—although, I can’t complain, I am not sure why—but as I have said before, we truly have no idea what others are going through. Even when we ask, we don’t always get the truth. I have had little interaction with family and friends since the surgery and am wondering if it is holiday busyness or just being uncomfortable with being out with a wheelchair or walker.
As the Holiday season draws closer, we are reminded that for a few weeks’ people make the effort to be a little kinder to friend and stranger alike. Mostly because it makes us feel good even if we must fake it, till we make it. It makes us feel better about ourselves because we want to care about others. So, let’s see if we can keep it going all through the year. It will be a win-win situation and most people would rather you make the effort at all than worry that you might say the wrong thing, the wrong way.
I happen to celebrate Christmas. The meanings have changed of over the years, but for me it is a time of love and peace and magic. You can wish me a “whatever you want’ and I won’t be offended, I’ll be pleased that you wished me anything. And I in turn will say thank you for another wonderful year. I wish you and your loved ones an incredible holiday season filled with love and peace and a New Year of happiness.