Friday, August 23, 2013

Ignorance Aloud

God spared me, again, from saying something stupid. Not that it required intensive intervention at the moment it happened. He’s been working me over on Ephesians 4:29 for quite some time. (Not that the “unwholesome talk” is much of a problem. But I tend to say quite a lot more than “what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”)

The young volunteer wheelchair jockey initially came across as a bit inattentive (although, he had simply wandered over to the phone to let the front desk know that there was an unattended wheelchair in the surgical ward hallway), then perhaps too attentive (expressing himself regarding the difficulty of pushing an above-average weight—my wife—in a wheelchair with below-average tire inflation). There was something about the conversation, though, that suggested he truly enjoyed serving in this way, and that there might be some mitigating circumstance behind his unique social skills.

So often, you never get to know someone, and the moment of mystery passes, as does the memory of any odd statement or action as we go on about the rest of our day. But sometimes you do get to know a little more than you thought you might.

As the young man guided my wife toward the front entrance of the hospital, they approached an entering patient who wore a Colorado State University t-shirt. He immediately asked her if she were a student at CSU, and she said that she was a senior. Not everyone at a 20,000+ enrollment campus would know each other, but when he asked her if she would do him a favor when she returned to campus, the request was definitely attainable. “Look up Temple Grandin for me, and tell her I said hello.”

If you don’t know who Dr. Grandin is, nor why she would be especially important to this young man, nor why just about anyone attending CSU should know her, then you owe it to yourself to look her up yourself. (You don’t have to drive to Fort Collins, Colorado. Google will get it for you on the very first try.)

For my part, though, being an admirer of Dr. Grandin helped me to become an admirer of a young man who will probably never know that what he said today was “helpful for building (me) up according to (my) needs,” and I hope it does “benefit those who listen.” It did for me.

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