I watched him go around the high school’s quarter-mile track working his trekking poles and traveling snail-like.
The third time he past me, as I leaned over the fence, I made him hesitate as I asked, “How old are you?”
He raised his head, looked me in the eye and said, “Sixty-five.”
I thought, “My lord! You’re done.” But politely I inquired, “Why are you doing this?”
Matter of factly he told me, “Because if I don’t I’m done and I don’t want to be done.”
I’m twenty-eight, I don’t respect almost everyone yet, I respected this guy at that moment. I could read his pain when I saw him take those deliberate, methodical, shuffling left-foot right-foot steps. He educated me about his arthritis. I rarely feel compassion but I wondered, “What can I do for you?”
“Stop talking. Get out of my way. And let me walk.”
Yeah, I didn’t get what he was saying but I felt like he was being rude and a part of me wanted to flip him off as I walked away, but another part of me stayed curious and I figured maybe this was a God-moment and so, I had to touch this man’s wisdom.
Later it dawned on me—though I didn’t dwell on it—that this trekker was once twenty-eight. Life is temporary, isn’t it?