May 182011

This week I had to go to the hospital to check out whether I had pneumonia.  My Dr. sent me for a chest x-ray to rule it out.

You know the routine…remove all your clothes from the waist up and wear a johnny shirt tied in the back.  When I came out of my cubicle I sat down in one of the chairs and looked at the only other person in the room who was also wearing a johnny shirt and sitting in a wheel chair.

I tend to not have a problem looking people in the eye…and this man didn’t have a problem with it either.  We stared each other down and communicated that way for quite a while and then I felt the need to actually speak words.
This man’s legs were so swollen up, that they were at least twice the size of what they should have been. When I came home I looked up the possibilities…liver, heart or kidney problems.

I estimated him to be in his 50′s, with a full head of curly, longish, salt and pepper hair. His face was thin, with a body to match, except for his legs. My impression was that he was a outdoors working man, probably a woodsman because his complexion had been chiseled by the wind and the sun. I was immediately attracted to his spirit and to his openness.

As soon as the first few words left his throat, I realized that he was a being of not necessarily diminished capacity but more so of a lack of education or lack of opportunity in his life.

from StarMama

My friend had just finished talking about how when washing his feet he had been shocked by his legs. I glanced down. Washing his feet? What? His toe nails were literally black and  long with some curling under. I have never seen such a display. My first thought, “here is a poor man”.

Wait a minute…did I just made the judgment that if a person is dirty that automatically means they are poor? Or did I just believe that no one else but a poor person could become this way? His fingernails were dirty too, but I accepted that as a given especially for an outdoors person. So what’s with the feet?

I looked back up to his face again. There was something in his eyes as I looked into them. Was it receptiveness? Timidity? I think it was vulnerability. This man had been hurt in his life. Yet he couldn’t be anything else but open…that’s who he was and I liked him for it.

Somehow his dirtiness didn’t matter any more. It wasn’t my place to make any judgments. I had made too many bad ones through the years to actually be able to be confident in them. It’s a liberating thing you know…this  judgment thing is  a heavy load to carry around for nothing.

  4 Responses to “Dirty Feet”

Comments (4)
  1. Thats my wife love her for who she is……

  2. That was beautiful, Fran, and a great reminder that we have to look beyond a person’s exterior to really know who they are on the inside. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. That, my friend, was beautiful:)

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