30 Jun 2008

needful activity

I saw something that moved me deeply. It really was a fairly plain sight. I was driving to the library and was caught at a red light. To my left, Isaw a young man walking with an elderly woman ... his mother? He held a dandy shopping carrier in one hand; she held a walking aid - the kind that fans out into four small legs as it reached the ground. To my dismay, they turned the small corner and stood waiting for the light to turn green. To the dismay of the long queue of drivers now behind me, I stopped long enough for them to cross a full lane of the road before I inched slowly around the bend. She hobbled slowly. He did not hold her or even touch her; but he kept a half-step behind her and turned his body a little so he could see her steps. My heart warmed; and my mind swarmed with thoughts.
Why wasn't he at work? Where were they headed? They were not in the vincinity of any clinics (probably the most frequented place for someone her age). Perhaps a visit to a sister. The whirring of the world around stopped as I looked at the pair. One with a life ahead, one with most of her life now behind her. For him, life needed him to stride with the quick steps of an determined achiever; for her, life would often be an unsteady re-tracing of steps...but now, they walked together askance, slowly, slowly.
Here wasn't fabricated soppiness. He could be son, kindly neighbour, a religious affiliate. It didn't matter. He was there for her when she needed someone. He could be at the arcade, in the library, hanging out with guys, ogling girls. But here he was, in the middle of the afternoon, walking down Ang Mo Kio Ave 8 with an old woman; careful that she would be safe.
Now how many of us count that as worthy activity today? The steps they take are small and add not a whit to the grand wheels of economy. When I arrived at the library, there was much hustle. Students were decked out on every avaliable spae - in the cafe -- most of them around a basket of fried snacks and the fifty perent discounted cuppa. Busy with their own lives, and dreams, and apetites.
Being available for someone else. Not many of us count such needful activity today.

1 comment:

  1. "He was there for her when she needed someone".

    That sounds like Jesus.


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