The World Through My Shoes is my look at living this incredible gift God has given us. As a busy wife, mother and daughter I relish the alone time I receive on my early morning runs. It is in the stillness of those predawn mornings where I often am inspired. Thank you for taking the time to read my words.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Staring At the Wall

Surprisingly, the hallways held no smell.  It had been years, decades really, since I had stepped inside a home designed to assist those who need care.

Growing up, we lived blocks away from the town's only nursing home.  Often as a child as I rode my bike down that road I would see someone sitting by their window looking out at the world just beyond their reach.  I would always wave; sometimes I park my bike, enter in and visit these strangers I knew through only a smile and a wave.  Pulling that big door open the smell would be the first thing greeting me; smells of life and the dying.  Today however, there was no smell.

Pale colored walls showed signs of  wear and tear from those hanging onto their independence.  Corners dinged from wheelchairs and black scuff marks marred the walls from a wheel of an errant push.   A very well-fed cat curls up under a settee and sleeps.

A man watches me intently from his wheelchair perched outside his door.  I smile.  He does not; his only movement are his eyes as they watch me walk toward - and then away - from him.  I scan the room number signs looking for Room 6125.

Sunlight streams in through a large glass window at the end of a short carpeted hallway.  A wheelchair is turned to face the wall.  Sitting in the wheelchair is a woman well into her twilight years.  White curly hair replaces what I image the darkened color of her youth.  Frailty seeps through her being.  I am struck by the loneliness and sadness awash on her face.

Unaware I am near, she stares at the pictures of yesteryear tacked onto the wall.  Do the pictures belong to her?  Are these living memories of a time long ago?  I can not tell.  Nothing breaks her gaze upon those pictures.

Without ever knowing, she has touched my heart.  Once she was a woman of strength, youth and vitality.  She has seen a world war and endured the Great Depression.  I wonder if she was an athlete as a young woman or if, like me, waited until well into her 30s to become one.  Is her heart content or does she long for the day when her body could keep up with her?

Her gaze upon that wall haunts the vibrancy of my own life.  I make the realization I have taken much for granted.  At 45 I could be half her age; yet it's becoming clearer to me to be mid-life is my own choosing.  Time may slowly take my youth, but life's enthusiasm is mine.

A beautiful woman looking upon pictures of years ago; snapshots of darker hair, wrinkle free skin, and standing tall.  Chances are I won't see her again yet she is all I think of as I bend down and lace up my running shoes.

It's a good day to go for a run.

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written. I see this every time I visit my mom. My mom has a roommate who no longer speaks. It is so sad. My mom is losing her mind slowly as well. I cherish the times we have. She has all of her memories and current events, but she is creating another world inside her mind where she is happy. I can't fault her for that on little bit.