I went to play pool last night with my team and as always, in a bar setting one never quite knows what one will see. Yet last night with all of its drama and tribulation restored my faith in the human spirit.
There was a gentleman there who was a veteran of the war in Iraq. His body wracked by injury, he wore a brace on his left leg which dragged behind him, his shoulder was twisted at what appeared to be a very painful angle and he used a walker. Yet this man was dancing safely inside the confines of his walker and playing pool. He shot the pants off of everyone he played. He balanced his cue stick upon the walker and shot. He showed joy in spite of his many challenges. I took the opportunity to speak with him and walker dance a couple of tunes.
At the end of the night I asked to photograph him, a request he graciously declined but was happy to allow me to share his story with you. I asked him about finding joy in the midst of such challenges and thanked him for his service and sacrifice. He told me “There are those who are paralyzed despite being “healthy”. They don’t even realize it. They don’t pursue joy internally or externally. It is in the living that we thrive. There are those who would prefer not to see me struggle and would rather I sat at home and withered away. Yet socialization and activity ensure that I will continue to be productive and to give to others and society. Don’t ever forget that no matter the challenges, the choice is ours as to what good we will share with the world.” With tears in my eyes, a lump in my throat and renewed resolve, I hugged this man and wished him well. I left my card with him and offered him and his family a free holiday portrait should he want one.
The human spirit. May we all inspire others through the testament of how we live our lives.
© 2012 by Paulissa Kipp