Friday, March 20, 2009

Destiny with a Smile

Have you ever met someone that you just can't explain the reason but you feel drawn to them? You have no idea who they are but you are compelled to find out. It had been a while since I had had that pull and desire but that changed sitting in the waiting room at my sons doctors office on March 12th.

My mother was not able to attend this appointment with me and my son so I was sure that this was going to be a boring experience from the time I set foot in the car. I figured I would hide my nose in a magazine and quietly wait for my son's name to be called smiling on occasion when the shadow of a passer by caught my attention. I could not have been more wrong!

The minute I came in I saw this gentleman with a beaming smile and over heard him talking with a man of my age possibly a bit older. I allowed my son to find us a seat while I signed him in. Luck have it my son chose the seats right in front of this older gentleman whom I still noticed I was hanging on his every word. I sat while my son played with the toys separating the lines of chairs. This man talked with great wisdom about life and lessons he had learned on his own journey. I simply sat and listened as these two men talked on occasion nodding at the lady with the gentleman assuming it to be his daughter. I never said a word but had the feeling that maybe I should. I could have sat there for hours listening to them talk but it seemed within minutes my son's name was called and I was walking hand in hand with him out of the waiting room leaving the man with the knack for conversation behind. I suspected that my chance to speak with the man myself was gone once I left the room and I had the nagging feeling I really should have said something to him not allowing the opportunity to pass me by.

The wait for the doctor was not very long so we did not have a lot of time halted in the examination room. The doctor gave us good news and we were ready to head back out. I walked passed a door and as I looked inside there sat the gentleman from the waiting room. I walked passed and actually turned around to go back. I have no idea why but I had to talk to this man. I had no idea what to say all I knew was I had to figure it out quick because I was standing there in his room with my young son looking right at him. Finally I said the only thing I could think to say I heard your conversation in the waiting room with the young man and I simply wanted to say hello and you have a great knack for conversation. It was amazing to see what just those few words did. This man's smile beamed and he began to talk with me. It was amazing what I learned from just this little bit of conversation.

The man's name was Mr. Ledford and he was 76 years old. He had served our country in the military as had his brothers before him. He was 9 years old when World War II began and his brothers were sent to fight. Luckily all made it back home safely. He was very close to one of his brothers and unfortunately had lost him in 1993. He had a brother born the year before and the year after my own grandfather. We talked and we talked and we talked some more. Finally our conversation was cut short when my son needed to use the bathroom. I told Mr. Ledford it had been a pleasure to meet him and to have the opportunity to speak with him as we shook hands. I left that room with a smile and one of the most amazing feelings. I had not only made Mr. Ledford happy by choosing to share his time but also because I listened to what he had to say.

What did I learn from this experience? Things happen for a reason. I really feel that I was meant to share these few moments of conversation with Mr. Ledford. I feel that is why my mother was unable to go with me to the doctor. Had she been with me I may well have never noticed just how great this gentleman was.

A smile really can make someones day. It was this man's smile and love of life that had first drawn me to pay attention to him in the first place. It was his respect, wisdom, and love for conversation that captivated me and encouraged me to talk with him.

There is nothing to fear in aging. In fact there are benefits: you are wiser, more understanding, know how to both talk and listen, and have learned to appreciate life for the simple things. If you choose to have a positive attitude you earn the respect and admiration of those who are younger.

Courtesy goes a long way. When I was leaving Mr. Ledford called me honey and upon realizing he had done so apologized and asked if he had offended me in any way. Of course not he had not said anything out of the way he had simply chosen a word that we often misinterpret. He had been nothing but polite, courteous, and respectful. I knew he meant no harm and was not speaking in any disrespect.

Lesson in this being if you have a great attitude no matter your age people are still going to respect and want to talk to you. Even strangers can touch your life and become a friend. A friend does not have to be someone you see regularly a friend is someone you want to see again because they touched your life in some way.

Mr. Ledford was my destiny with a smile. I am glad that we met and I took my chance to speak with him and listen to all his words of wisdom and advice. I hope to meet him again some day on his monthly visit to the doctor. It is amazing how much you can affect someones day by taking the time to say hello. It is amazing how you can affect someones life just by sharing a few moments of your time.

Some things are just meant to be those things we know as destiny.

1 comment:

  1. I wish this was true for me. From my experiences when most people smile there is something evil behind it. Alot of old people in small towns are like the man you met, but unfortunately they are the minority. When people I know small they usually want something. "Hey how ya been? Um, can I borrow this or that?" Even my 65 year ild neighbor is a conniving bastard, lol. He's a crack head so it's no surprise. I wish there were more people like the man you met.