A little old man scootered up to the door of our Day Center last week. I greeted him and invited him to take a look around. His right arm and leg were paralyzed, as was his speech. His only word was “this” as he would point and use gestures to communicate. He could not tell me his name or phone number or even how he got to our center, but he gestured to me to follow him. I considered that to be a good idea since he was likely to cross the busy 4-lane road. I stopped traffic to help him cross safely, then into the near-by neighborhood. About a half mile later I followed him into an empty house where he proceeded to share with me his story. With a single word I learned so much about this little man. He somehow explained that his good arm was injured when he was about 8 years old. That injury kept him from being accepted into the armed forces. About 5 years ago he suffered the stroke that resulted in his condition. He loves pizza, ice cream and solitude, but now he was tired of staying home alone and wants to do more with his life. That is why he came to us. To join a group of people with similar interests and abilities that he could call friends. He gave me a card that said his name and the name of his daughter along with her phone number. I was able to reach his daughter and confirm the details that he shared with me and help him find what he was looking for.
I had not realized how fluently we had communicated until his daughter asked how I learned so much from a man that could not speak.
Imagine a world where we could all communicate as well as this little man, without the use of words.
Imagine if we used the power of our words only for the benefit of others.
Imagine if there were no barriers to our understanding, but only a world where we communicated with our hearts.
Imagine, and catch a glimpse of heaven.
~ Jeff Dold