He was there standing like a shadow near his building as I stopped my car. He waited for me to get down and guide him inside my vehicle, then grinned at my wife and children though he couldn’t see them. He is blind, and lived in Kuwait, till his wife of many years brought him home one day, dumped him on his mother’s doorstep and returned to Kuwait.
I know his sadness when he thinks of a love who’s abandoned him; his only fault; losing his eyesight and I feel his longing for little daughter thousands of miles away, but all that springs from him on his ride with me is hope and positive thinking! “Bob,” he asks me, “You think I can do a course in counseling and help others in distress?”
Some people are really like sugarcane, aren’t they? They yield sweetness when crushed!
And then I think of the wife of a childhood friend of mine. He was a handsome fellow and when I saw his bride, I remember thinking they were the perfect pair, she beautiful as he was good looking.
“What’s wrong?” I asked one day when I went visiting, the tray she was carrying just slipped out of her hands and tea and biscuits lay spilt and scattered.
“Arthritis!” she whispered. It became worse by the year and I watched a beautiful woman walk bent and doubled up. Her fingers could hardly open.
One day she asked me, “Would you like to see my paintings?”
“You paint?” I asked looking at her stiff fingers.
“With my toes!”
I gawked at her as she sat down to paint, nonchalantly adjusting a brush between the toes of her left leg. And then I watched canvas transformed as radiant colours leaped out and threw themselves at us.
“It’s incredible!” I exclaimed.
“Nobody can crush her soul!” said her husband.
“Sugarcane!” I murmured, “the more it’s crushed the sweeter the yield!”
I hear giggles, chuckles and shy feminine laughter: I enter a room where the wives of AID’s patients meet every Saturday afternoon. They laugh as Shilpa sitting in the middle tells a joke. She’s in charge of the group and from a bunch of despondent, depressed women she’s turned their Saturdays into a day of fun. I watch as she gets up, hesitantly straps on calipers to her polio stricken leg and limps out.
“Hi Bob!” she yells and goes out and home to an alcoholic husband!
I close my eyes and ask, “How have these so crushed yielded such sweetness? How has pain brought out sugar in them? How Lord? How?”
And a voice answers, “Because my son, in those times of terrible loss, those moments of deep rejection and dejection, they found me, and the sweetness they paint with brush and service is the joy that overflows when I hold and squeeze them tight..!”
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