Do you go through life so fast that you miss out on real life!?
What would your life be like if you simply slowed down enough to notice the people around you and to truly connect with them?
I can honestly say that the last 6 weeks in London has been my best life experience ever. I have never experienced so much camaraderie, excitement and sheer joy.
London2012 may sadly be all over but the memories will live on forever.
What made it so special was being amongst so many people who were equally on a euphoric high and were simply enjoying being. And long may the feel-good factor last…
For me and for many others, the best experience was to witness the Paralympic athletes who reminded us to never ever feel sorry for ourselves again.
On the morning of the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games, I saw the Paralympic Torch Bearers walk along the iconic Abbey Road Beatles Crossing near my home. It was quite a moving experience and I managed to be right alongside the media from all around the world and captured this poignant image:-
The point is that most of these Paralympic torch bearers had no choice but to go through life at a slow, steady pace. And I bet they get to see and take in much more than most of us so called able-bodied people.
Of course some of the Paralympic athletes are able to go quite fast, with or without artificial limbs and I was so lucky to watch the mercurial Oscar Pistorius run on his blades in the iconic Olympic stadium.
I manifested a free ticket by simply turning up outside the stadium and putting it out there that I wanted a ticket. But that’s a story for another day:-).
During the course of the Paralympic games, I again realised how often we just take other people’s challenges for granted – we simply go through life so fast that we never really notice other people and what they are going through.
Coincidentally, a friend recently sent me this anecdotal story which may or may not be true but it resonated with me. It’s one of those stories that goes around the internet and one can never trace its source. So my thanks to whoever created this story:-
A young and successful executive was travelling down a neighbourhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something.
As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag’s side door!
He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting, ‘What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? That’s a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?’
The young boy was apologetic.
‘Please, mister…please, I’m sorry but I didn’t know what else to do,’ He pleaded. ‘I threw the brick because no one else would stop…’
With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. ‘It’s my brother,’ he said, ‘he rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up.’ Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, ‘Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He’s hurt and he’s too heavy for me.’
Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay
‘Thank you and may God bless you,’ the grateful child told the stranger. Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home.
It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door.
He kept the dent there to remind him of this message:
‘Don’t go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!’
So from now onwards, slow down and make sure you too don’t need a brick to be thrown at you!