She walked in pushing a wheelchair slowly,
Looking tired and a little worn out,
The man in the chair perhaps her father,
Old, and sickly, his arm in a cast acting confused.
She walked with a slight limp with stingy blond hair,
Her face looked as if she had not smiled in awhile.
Her voice strong and intelligent yet gentle,
Conversing patiently with the man she cared for.
As I observed her from across the room,
Perhaps not really seeing her at all,
But nonetheless my reactions intrigued me,
In the way I was touched by her presence.
Compassion, empathy, and pity are often mixed,
So what I felt I am not sure,
Though I hope it was not pity, a form of benign contempt,
For she deserved better than that, respect, and so much more.
She seemed so lonely in my eyes,
Perhaps this was true, perhaps not,
I just wanted to go and hold her,
Telling her that things would turn out all right.
What I did was nothing, not even a word or a smile,
Not that it would have mattered in any way,
Since I did not know her at all, I was just a stranger in her eyes.
Yet I am often touched by strangers in ways I don’t understand yet wounded still.
Later as I prayed, I held her, and brought her with me before the light,
Praying for all the lonely ones,
The unattractive ones ignored,
Though their souls burn bright.
Perhaps this woman seemingly gentle in her ways,
Shines back on me my own loneliness hidden from view,
Reflected back through her countenance in ways unforeseen,
And in that situation allowing empathy to arise, a sharing of human experience.
Each has something to teach along the pilgrimage we are on,
We all lead each other on the way,
Sometimes the teacher, at others the student,
Interplay in the complexity of human relationship.