With all of the precipitation and residue (slush and ice) that comes with every New England winter, comes complication and injury.
While my need to use crutches this January came as a result of a surgery I had during break, I was not a lone ranger struggling across campus via crutches. By the end of the first day of classes I had seen several other students using crutches to get around.
“I feel your pain,” a fellow crutcher had said as we passed one another at a slow pace.
One afternoon as I wobbled to class a person on crutches shared a “crutch-five,” reinventing the high-five to boost our deteriorating morale.
Fortunately, the recovery from my surgery taught me two important things.
First, I learned that people are compassionate to those who are struggling physically.
And second, I learned that I have taken for granted the luxury of having two working feet. One Saturday morning, just after the semester began, I had to drive back home early in the morning.
Not so luckily for me, the cloud gods decided to throw some snow at me as I waited for a shuttle that never came.
Attempting to call my brother for a ride was close to hopeless, as his attempted phone call to answer ratio stands at about ten to one.
Regardless, I was trying not to lose my cool while freezing my toes off. “Hey, do you need a ride?”
I never saw the student before but I was extremely grateful for his generous offer.
Before he dropped me off at my car in Winchester lot the boy told me he was a junior at Bentley University in Massachusetts — he didn’t even go to Keene.
While I realize we should not be taking rides from strangers, this boy was simply being a good citizen and helping out the girl standing alone outside on crutches.
People are kind by nature.
Sometimes other things get in the way and can alter their motives, but during my recovery far more people have reached out to me than I could have ever imagined.
To all those who helped me out, thank you. Know that your acts of kindness have been very much appreciated. When you see somebody having a difficult time, offer him or her some help.
I promise you that the 60 seconds of help on your part will be remembered and appreciated for a lot longer than the minute of your time.
On another note, recognize the glory of having a working body. We tend to be ignorant of the fact that we are so very lucky.
My surgery led to a long recovery period where I was not to put any weight on my left foot.
This enhanced my enthusiasm for my right foot, along with a greater appreciation for working hands and every other part of my body.
When things are good we get caught up in the unimportant. When things are bad, we remember how good we once had it.
I challenge you to offer help to a stranger today, as you may be the one seeking help tomorrow.
I also encourage all able-bodied human beings to take a second to thank their fingers and toes, their eyes and ears, their legs and their arms, because we forget how valuable it is to be able to simply walk from point A to point B or to have the ability to do really anything just because of the good fortune of having a working body.
Arline Votruba can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org