The world can be a selfish place. What about Me? I deserve… I need… I want…
As children, our Mom taught us 6 girls to give the best of what we had to our guests, to hold doors open for strangers, to give without expecting anything in return, to be empathetic and sympathetic to others, and the golden rule. Thank you Mom, you’ve laid out the foundation of how to raise my own children.
I want to share an experience I recently had at my Nephew’s wedding. The room was decorated beautifully and we all came together dressed in our best to celebrate the deliriously happy couple. As the wedding dance was underway, I found my way to my Mom and my sister Janice’s table. We sat together and watched the couples on the dance floor moving to the rhythm of the music, and it dawned on me that maybe Janice, who’s lived with MS for years, misses dancing. I asked her “Hey, Janice do you want to dance?” She looked at me like I was crazy, and for a second I was embarrassed…how was I going to get her on the dance floor with her limited mobility. What a stupid question!
And then, moments later, as my Aunt Sandy and I were aiding Janice to walk to a different table, Aunt Sandy says “Let’s go dance Janice!” Janice again looked at Aunt Sandy like she was crazy, but we made our way to the dance floor. The three of us interlace our arms around one another and just swayed together to the music. Janice giggled throughout most of it, truly enjoying herself. And then the moment hit me: I’m dancing with Janice! Several times I had to choke back my tears, as the gravity of that moment was overwhelming. It was as if there was no one around us, just the three of us and the sound of Janice’s laughter.
It wasn’t until the song was over and we turned around that I noticed our family behind us clapping, and cheering for Janice. I will never forget that. I know there were family members who took photos, if anyone has a picture of that I would love a copy to frame so I can look at it often.
At the end of the night, as I tried in vain to get to sleep, I couldn’t stop thinking about Janice. I thought about all the times when I was so wrapped up in my own life and my own kids, that I failed to look at the world from her eyes. I didn’t think about what she must be wanting and needing and unable to achieve because of the horrible disease she lives with daily. Sometimes the one trait you struggle to handle in another person is the very same trait you struggle with as well…in this case Selfishness. The trouble with selfishness is it’s a hard one to recognize, because one is wrapped up in their own needs, wearing blinders to others.
All you can do when you are slapped in the face with something you need to change is to learn, move forward, and make the necessary changes. Time to take the blinders off! Once again you continue to teach me so much about life and humanity Janice.
And Janice, thanks for the dance…
From my heart to yours,