The Fault in Our Stares - Day 1 #BarAThon

I am particpating in the Barathon with the blogging group, Blog a Rhythm for the week of June 14 to 30th, a fortnight of blogging as they say in India. I almost forgot that a fortnight means two weeks. Such a fun British term.

Today's prompt is "The Fault in our Stares." The theme for the week is "Seven" which I have no idea how to incorporate into today's post, other than this memory took place in the 19 SEVENties. There, I did it! PHEW!


This is a memory I have of volunteering as a candy striper in a hospital when I was about thirteen. 

A loud garbled cry comes from the small shrunken man in the hospital bed. He drools from the side of his sagging mouth, his red tinged eyes pleading, as he tries to get my attention.

I have just started working as a candy striper and Monsieur Couvrette scares me with his pitiful cries and pathetic look. Most of the time, I try to avoid him as he seems so angry.

He lies in the bed, sad, helpless, shriveled and shrunken, his skin pale and greyish. One side of his face droops giving him a lopsided look. They tell me he’s had had a stroke and can’t talk. Growing old sure looks terrible from a naive thirteen year old’s perspective.

I try to ignore his yelling as I pour ice water to give to the patients. I leave his water in the covered cup with a straw on his bedside table while trying to ignore his pitiful cries.

He struggles to speak again, his voice like a wounded animal caught in a trap, garbled and pained with frustration. He gestures with his good arm, pointing to the bedside table.

I stand there frozen, unsure of what to do. He points at the drawer wanting me to open it.

I open the drawer and see a chocolate bar. He must be hungry so I take it out to give to him which gets him yelling again. He points at me in despair and his twisted mouth opens as he tries to say something but can’t. Finally I realize that he wants me to have the chocolate bar  Embarrassed and blushing, I take it and thank him. His small body relaxes and he slumps back in the bed.

How often do we look at someone, judge and dismiss them by their appearance and behaviours, making quick assumptions that are totally wrong? I certainly did with that poor sick man who had suffered a stroke. 

Years later, I am reminded that we should never judge someone by how they look and we should never make assumptions about what they’re thinking as it’s usually wrong. A difficult lesson for us all to learn, but definitely a good reminder. 

Comments

  1. Ah, how often we make up our minds about a person by just looking at his/her appearance! What a heartwarming personal story about keeping our prejudices at check. But, you were just a 13-year-old then. Considering how as adults we make the mistake even when know it's not correct!

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Uma. Yes, we adults still judge and dismiss, it's true. I know I shouldn't but I still do it. Good to be reminded that I'm not getting the full picture of someone and there is much more to them than just their appearance and behaviours.

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  2. As a doctor, have seen some of the most beautiful examples of compassion from people who were suffering and were on death's bed. It is heartbreaking at times but also enlightening... shows you what they value in the end.

    Marvel Movies Trivia: The 6 Infinity Stones and the Gauntlet

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    1. Thanks for your comment from a doctor's perspective, Roshan. Yes, I imagine you've had a lot of touching and emotional moments with those who were dying. It seems as if all the superficial stuff falls away and what is important becomes the most valuable as you said so well.

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  3. Cat, I simply loved how you described the scene so vividly, recreating it after so many years through your memories.
    True, how often we play out this really cruel act of judging people by their appearances, seldom stopping to think what they may be in reality, underneath the surface.
    Beautiful post!

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    1. Thanks so much for the lovely comments, Shilpa. I still have to work at not judging as I do like to stare at people and figure out what they're about and most of the time, I'm completely wrong.

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  4. Nicely done with the proompt. Visiting from the Barathon challenge.Cheers! Marquessa @simplymarquessa from Simply Marquessa

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  5. Somehow I knew that he'd be offering the chocolate to you!
    Totally agree with you about the 'judging', Cathy.
    My previous poem is titled- 'Judge Me Not' :)

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    1. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Much appreciated. I will look for your poem.

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  6. Our perspective can be so skewed at times thanks to our moral compasses or fear or conditioning! This is such a sweet story Cathy!

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    1. Thanks so much for the nice comments. Yes, isn't it true that our perspective is filtered by our experiences with fear or conditioning as you say?

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  7. It's inevitable - some amount of judging, but this is a reminder to pause and think before we make up our minds about someone. What a sweet gesture from that man.

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  8. Wow this is a beautiful lesson. And that gesture actually made feel so bad for the man, or anyone who have to suffer like this. We, with our faulty stares, always find the fault in others. Loved this post.

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  9. Well said. It's all about perspective, how we interpret things. A wonderfully narrated life experience, Cathy. Thanks for sharing!

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