I’ve run the scene through my head over and over since way back when. It’s been a long time now, but every so often it plays in my head like a bad commercial on TV that you don’t want to see… and yet there it is again, and you know every detail… in detail…
I think maybe those kinds of experiences God won’t allow us to erase from our memories – wisdom gained the hard way seems to be the tool that changes our actions if we encounter another chance… and there’s always another chance…
I was in an airport bathroom, it was fairly crowded and as usual… I was in a hurry. I was drying my hands when I caught him out of the corner of my eye, “Sunglasses inside… Oh yeah, he’s cool…” I thought to my naturally sarcastic self. I glanced directly at him to get a better look at Mr. Cool Guy, maybe even toss him a disgusted look for good measure.
Instantly things didn’t add up. He was distinguished looking, well groomed and kept. It all happened so fast, my mind was piecing the whole scenario together while passing judgment… Yeah, I’m talented like that… The fifty some year old, shades sporting slickster, was pulling paper towels from the dispenser as fast as he could.
As he reached for the faucet I spotted the German shepherd on the other side of the sink. His best friend. I leaned back to get a better view of the dog. Two plus two finally began to add up to a slow learner and I figured out that the dog was a special-smart, trained to care for his master and best friend. Something was amiss. The seeing eye dog looked like a kid who’d just been scolded and grounded, his ears back and an unmistakeable sadness in his eyes.
I was feeling bad for being the jump-to-conclusion-guy when I realized the new technology that would ordinarily have given me a chuckle, broke my heart. The man was feeling his way around the faucet for the hot and cold levers that weren’t there. I was getting ready to help when the blind man accidentally ran his hand full of paper towels in front of the sensor.
I glanced back to the man’s best friend to figure out the need for the towels and finish the puzzle. The dog had gotten sick and lost control of his bowels and the runny stool was all over the floor and the dog. The blind man was gentle and kind as I watched him work quickly cleaning his best friend as best he could without the advantage of eyesight.
I finished drying my hands and looked over at the man and his dog one last time. The seeing eye dog looked directly at me… He spoke louder than if he could have talked… I think he sensed my heart and yet I tossed the paper towel in the trash and walked out…
I can’t erase the image from my mind, but I think despite the regret and sadness for not helping out, those images will ensure the next time I happen upon a scenario that gives an opportunity to help out, I’ll be the hands for God. After all, they clean up fairly easily… especially with the gift of eyesight.
The heart? Well… sometimes it takes a bit more scrubbing.