Recently at a reunion I saw a man I had seen all my growing up years. He was simply a fixture in our town, not really a bad guy, but not really a good friend either. He simply was. Last year, I noticed something different about him. He asked about me, my family, my brothers and sisters, and my health. He had never done that before. He did the same thing this year. This is much different than I had ever seen or expected of him.
My perspective about him changed totally. I learned he had had a stroke prior to last year’s reunion, and apparently had another one since. He seemed to be functioning pretty well, but responses were slower and he still didn’t have full use of one arm. I know such things as strokes and heart problems changes a person’s emotions, but his “attention” to me was at the same time startling and pleasant. Is this who he really is, or was the other guy I knew the real man?
I have a feeling that life emergencies and challenges bring about an uncovering of what we always knew we were, but had hidden from others for various reasons. Suddenly, we are not in control of things as we like others to think, and it has an affect on us. But does it cause us to care? Maybe that is the blessing in such challenges. Maybe we need to find our real selves, and quit whatever façade we once created. I am consistently amazed at the difference between adolescence and adulthood, and the difference between adulthood and middle age. I suppose the important things become more prominent in our thinking, and maybe we realize we need all the friends we can get.