Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Those Little Reversals in Life

Isn't it remarkable that most of us go through life totally unaware of the reversals that happen to some along life's journey? What reversals, you ask? Well, let's talk about that.

Role reversal is the most important one that can happen to anyone in life. On a very personal note: my son grew up into a handsome man who married a wonderful girl, had an amazing son of his own, and who expected to always take care of them. But life interfered, as it does so often, and one day, his role in the family was reversed. His wife became the caretaker of him, and of the family, until his death in January, 2015. A role reversal of the saddest kind.

One day I was in the library, browsing among the stacks, when I heard a soft voice say,"No, Dad, that word is "running." You know the word 'run,' so just put 'ing' to it."

Another soft voice, much deeper, said, "He wa...was run...running too far..."
"No, Dad, not 'too far', but it is 'too fast.' Come on, let's try it again." The deep voice: "I don't know, honey, I don't think I'll ever learn again." The sentence was spoken in bits and pieces, with pain evident in each word.

I'm not usually a snoop, but that day I just had to be. I had to know what was going on. I stepped quietly around a couple of bookcases, and stopped. In front of me was a round table and four small chairs, those found in the section for young children. On one of the chairs, stooped over and barely sitting on it, was a tall, thin man with his face in his hands. Sitting next to him, but on the table, was a lovely young girl of about fourteen. Dark curly hair clustered on her shoulders, and her dark eyes were filled with tears. She sat with one small hand on the man's shoulder. "Dad, you will learn again. Look how far you've come this year. I won't let you stop learning until you can read all your own books again." He raised his head and smiled at her. His dark eyes mirrored hers, complete with the tears. He wiped his face with a handkerchief, and got up, slowly and painfully. He held his hand out to his daughter, and they carefully picked their way around the other tables to the checkout counter. He held a Beginning Reader's book in his hand.

I checked out behind them, and as I walked out, I saw the father pointing at various trees, cars, and even a rabbit who came scuttling by. He named them all for his daughter, and she was laughing and hugging him around the waist.

I drove off, with tears in my own eyes. Teacher in reverse: daughter teaching father, and in the same loving, patient way the father had once taught the daughter.

How wonderful. How remarkable. A reversal in life that could have been tragic, but instead, courage, patience, and love was all wrapped up in one beautiful, fourteen year old package.

Reversals in life. What remarkable thing have you seen lately?

Think about it.

Until next time,
That's a wrap.