The Strength And The Fragility Of The Human Condition

While out and about today, I stopped off for some nourishment in a small, local café. The time and the location meant that the café wasn’t crazy busy or so full that there were no tables available. But it was busy enough that you could tell it wouldn’t be a risk to stop and eat there. Maybe that’s just me, but when I’m the only person eating in a place and it’s not a super odd hour to be eating I always worry if everyone else knows something I don’t know about the food or the reputation of the place!

I was directed to a nice table near the corner of the café with only the table directly in front of me also being occupied. Once I placed my order I decided to have a quick look around before pulling out my typical reading material. (Yes I am that much of a book-worm that I will read any chance I get. And yes my mother was not a fan of reading at the table, but she also was a fan of reading so at times she would permit the odd book or two.) Just before I pulled out my book I noticed that the orders for the three people seated in front of me had arrived. The food looked delicious and smelled wonderful and to confess I was a feeling more heartened by this.

But I went to pick up the book I was going to read, I was reminded of just how frail we all really are. I was also reminded of how far compassion, care and empathy can go in making a person’s day so much better. You see one of the elderly companions at the table in front of me was unable to use her hands. They had curled up and she could not hold cutlery or the glass with her drink in it. Her two other companions took turns helping her to eat and drink with effortless grace while affording her dignity. Clearly despite this small setback they were having a good time laughing and enjoying each other’s company.

I got to wondering if in our fast paced lives, so focused on devices, electronics and everything instantaneous we haven’t misplaced something more important. Something that will come back to us when we are older or in need of help and if this something won’t just be lost as we drift further away from human relationships. I know I’ve been guilty and still am guilty of putting things before people in my life at times. I know I’ve decided that I prefer solitude most often, and I wonder if as I get older or my struggles become greater, if I won’t be missing out not just on human companionship, but the dignity and grace that comes with friendship and love.

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