Truly Powerful People (480)

Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

My grandfather is 103 years old. His mind is sharp and his body is worn out. He wheels around his retirement home in a space-age scooter, cutting sharp corners, pivoting on a dime, covering the distance to the dining hall in less time than I could run it. Until yesterday it had been eight years since my last visit, too long. For an hour we sat and he told us stories of his life, this man born into a horse and buggy world.

He is ready to go but insists that hell is full so he’ll need to stick around a bit longer. As he told stories I wondered how this world of computers, cell phones, and the internet must look through his eyes. He was born a few short years after Orville and Wilbur Wright lifted humans into the possibilities of flight. He saw two wars to end all wars that gave rise to atom bombs, nuclear power and the industrial military complex (he was at Pearl Harbor on that day of infamy), the rise of radio that gave way to television, refrigerators, moon walks, microwave ovens, international space stations, the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, the Hubble telescope, and this thing called Google,…he has lived an extraordinary life in an extraordinary era.

It was not lost on me that, when asked about his life, he talked about the day he met his wife, a trip over the pass when the Model-T ran out of gas and people trusted him with a gas can, an aunt that read fortunes and gave him and his new bride a place to stay for the night. He talked of friends and relatives and his children.

Earlier in the day he’d taken a fall and he talked of the woman who held his hand as they waited for the paramedics to arrive. He was fine, reseated in his scooter, and the kindness of another human being became the center of the story. As I listened I recognized that the events and inventions are trappings –miraculous to be sure – but they serve only as the circumstances of our lives. The real story is in the people that we walk with on our passage through this planet and how we are with them. When I am 103 will I spend much time thinking about the gadget that connects me to satellite radio, the anti-gravity chair that zips me to the dining hall? Probably not. I’ll be grateful for the new easy knee replacements and non-invasive surgeries. Perhaps I’ll have new straighter teeth. However, when I fall, I hope there is someone available to hold my hand and wait with me until the paramedics arrive. And later, I hope someone comes to visit so I can tell them my story of the kindness of strangers, of the day I met my love, and the people that made my life rich beyond measure.

2 Responses

  1. Blessing upon you, David Robinson, and all those whose stories you tell.

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