Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Things Aren't Always as They Seem

My last post was about seeing a man dozing outside the grocery store in the AZ heat and humidity on Sunday afternoon. I have thought a lot about that man in the past few days. Not him, personally maybe, but the image that he left on my foggy brain.

Was it real? Was he homeless or mentally ill or was he pulling something to get something for nothing? How can we ever know in this type circumstance and how can we make the right decision about reaching out or helping someone like this. I don't think there is any way of knowing, you just have to go with your gut at the moment. Chances are you are having your good side stomped on by someone who knows how to take advantage. But, there is always that small chance that you will somehow make a difference in a human life, even for a short time. Hopefully I will be able to somehow trust enough to try in the future.

I have written about my son who is mentally and physically disabled because of an accident. Our family spent several years going to various rehab facilities and nursing homes to visit him before he was released to live on his own.

You are constantly bombarded with sad situations when you visit these places. You see lonely people, you see needy people and you ache all over for them and their situation. You are one person and you are stretched to the limit with caring for your own family member. So you sometimes leave just hurting all over because you are so helpless to HELP.

But, you quickly learn that things are NOT always the way they seem. If a patient seems to never have visitors, you tend to think that they have a uncaring family. Then you find out that the patient is so demanding and mean that they have driven anyone who cared completely away. You see someone who is wearing old clothes and shoes and you wonder how family could let that happen. Then you learn that they have a closet full of nice things that they refuse to wear. In other words, its not always the families fault.

They have tried to do the right thing but the illness or age of the patient prevents them. This is not always the case, but you never know.

Personally this has happened with our son. There are things we would chose to be different in his life. He is an adult and makes his own choices. So when someone sees him, they might say, where is his family? From experience, we are right here, we try and we try but somethings are just not up to us. We do as much for him as we can within limits and hope for understanding.

So, you have to learn not to judge. You also have to learn to just let what is out of your control go. And, you have to develop a thick skin to those who wonder why it is that you aren't doing something.

So, back to my guy outside the grocery store. As I was driving away, he was lighting up a cigarette. My first reaction was, if he had money for that, he could buy water. But, I don't know the story or the circumstance, and I came home knowing that no matter what, if he needed water, he had some.

1 comment:

Lynda (Granny K) said...

Hi Norma, My cousin was a paranoid schitzophrenic, so I know how it can affect a family. You do your best, that is all you can do.
We all suffer guilt feelings from time to time, it makes us human. You gave the man water, which was probably the best thing you could do for him.
"Be slow to judge and quick to bless" - I don't know where those words came from, but they just came into my head.