The Borrowed Life (The Letters – Part 2 – end)

Dear Friend,

How are you? I hope the sun is shining outside your window and the dog is sleeping peacefully on your foot.. Those small things that make life deserves to be cherished!

I wrote to you about my life recently. About how I had been living a life that I borrowed, from Life itself and from the people who own it.. It has come to my senses that not only have I been given chance to borrow the life, I also have been given a new perspective. A new point of view and a new spirit. Would you believe it?

I have to tell you, it was very interesting to observe people’s behavior. Conscience, attitude, and good gestures did not appear in uniformity. Well being a number-freak, I’d point out statistics based on 5 observations made in public places (mostly shopping malls). Hahaha. I’d say:

3 out of 5 people would hold the door voluntarily for a person in a wheelchair.
5 out of 5 people would hold the elevator door.
10 out of 10 would help a person in a wheelchair to move between the chair and the car.

And get this: out of 10 people looking at a person in a wheelchair (including or not including eye contact):
5 will show the look of curiosity (What happened to that girl? Car accident? Motorcycle crash? Oh I know, fell off a skateboard!)
3 will show the look of respect as if they are looking at a normal human being,
1 will show the look of pity and furthermore, smile in pity,
1 will show the look of ‘so-what-if-you-are-in-a-wheelchair?-don’t-ask-me-to-pity-or-respect-you-like-you-are-something-special-I’ve-got-my-own-problems-so-bugger-off.’ while trying to walk past you impatiently (really). LOL.

Maybe you’ll ask, how I respond to those looks. Well, just how I felt most appropriate for each instance. Sometimes I looked back at them without any particular expression. Other times, I gave them a smile. Most times I just ignore (but taking note). What motivated the people, whom I did not know, to help me out; empathy, pity, common sense? I didn’t know at first.

But as I opened my heart and my eyes, this borrowed life showed me more than I had expected. It showed me humanity.

You know I am an active person, I try to do many sorts of things and live mostly on the move. You also know, my way of life has always been of individuality. I don’t depend (although I am always learning to inter-depend), I take care of myself and I generally do not ask for help. It’s the rule of thumb. I was initially the same when I started this borrowed life.

I didn’t want people to help me walk or get something. I kept saying “it’s okay, I can do it”, because it is true. I really could, I really can. Everything needed more effort, but everything was still manageable. But as time passed, I began to realize; maybe people did not offer help because I needed help. Instead, maybe, people offer help because they WANT to help. They don’t know how I physically, or mentally, felt, how much pain I’m actually going through, but they want to make me feel better by any way possible. I rarely sensed pretense. I mostly felt genuine compassion and began to understand their willingness, not because I couldn’t do things, but because they wanted to make me feel better. I feel that people want to let me know that I can count on them although I can do everything myself. This finally came to my senses and I felt how kind most people are. Of course some people, just cared mostly about themselves, but most people are genuinely compassionate.

So I started to open up. Let people in. I let more people know about this injury, because I learned that they would be so disappointed if they were not told. I let people help more or visit me at home. I let people give permissions and restrictions. This borrowed life has taught me a new form of respect for each other, a new perspective on human relations.

At the same time, I also learned to ask some respect from people about how “limited” I am and what things I value more. I went to good friends’ weddings because there was no way I would’ve missed them for the world. Going to weddings, wearing dresses or kebaya and skirt wasn’t that much of a hassle, I just had to hibernate the day after. I organized a Halloween meetup because I haven’t organized this kind of meetup in a while. FYI, I went as an accident victim 😉

This borrowed life also has taught me that people with mobility limitations are challenged in movement, but that doesn’t mean they have to stay inside everyday. I’ll say this: when they say they don’t need help, believe them that they don’t. When they do ask for it, pray do so with full attention. When valuable things call to be done, they can and will do them. I knew my limits, and I am sure everyone know theirs.

You told me, there must be a hidden meaning and purpose of this accident. I said maybe, and let us see. These lessons might just be the most important. I have been given a short course of ‘a different perspective in life’, of only 4-6 months out of (hopefully) a hundred years of life. Less than 1 credit of practical skills and analytic out of the lifetime program.

These months of borrowed life is just a minuscule portion of my life, but it has certainly carried vast package of lessons. You know what, of course I won’t say I am thankful for the accident, for the broken bones, I take it as a lesson of risk and to be more careful. But I am definitely thankful for this borrowed life, for the opportunity to see and live life differently. For this has made me a richer person in soul, and hopefully with deeper wisdom.

Take care of yourself. Let’s not take our fully intact and healthy bodies and lives for granted, but let’s cherish every difference we see among ourselves. 🙂

And of course, however, be careful and don’t fall off a motorcycle. 😉

Big hug,

2 thoughts on “The Borrowed Life (The Letters – Part 2 – end)

  1. “I mostly felt genuine compassion and began to understand their willingness, not because I couldn’t do things, but because they wanted to make me feel better. I feel that people want to let me know that I can count on them although I can do everything myself.”

    Hihihih so finally it takes broken ankle for you to understand how do people care about you, keep inspiring you strong woman!!


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