When I asked directions to Bray from Greystones, Ireland, in 2007, I was told by an elderly shopkeeper that it wasn’t far as long as I had two legs. I have remembered his comment mostly due to his accent, but I had not fully taken seriously the conditionality of his phrase — “if” — until I gained a colleague in a wheelchair.
My colleague’s condition hadn’t been from birth, meaning that at one point, he had had the use of his legs. Later in life, he had not. And the wheelchair bothered him. And his attitude changed me.
Someday, when my knees are too stiff to climb mountains, when my eyes are weakened from too many grad school papers, when my hay-bale lifting strength can no longer be my source of pride, when I am forced to rest more than run, can I say that I truly lived? Loved? Saw? Tasted? Appreciated? And was grateful?