Wednesday, July 2, 2008
One Foot In Front Of The Other
The rain came down hard and the wind blew my umbrella so fierce that it flipped inside out. The bus was fifty feet away -- to me, about a thirty second walk; for Miri, much longer.I am a supervisor in a day hab program for adults with special needs. Miri is one of my consumers. Though she is one of 120, I can easily single her out because she never fails to make an impact on me. Everyday, Miri walks with her walker to get where she needs to go. Everyday, she struggles because she takes each step slowly and carefully so that she doesn't fall. Everyday, Miri amazes me because she never gives up.This particular Friday, after Miri finally made it to the bus amidst the violent rain, she realized she needed to use the washroom. "Oh no," came the moans and groans from the bus. "If Miri leaves the bus, we'll NEVER get out of here..."I looked around. Miri's counselor had already left for the day. After all, she had done her job by placing Miri on the bus, and it was a short Friday. Day hab was officially over. In the blink of an eye, I flipped my umbrella back the way it was supposed to be, and helped Miri climb down the stairs. We were instantly hit with a rush of rain as the sky got blacker and blacker. Miri looked anxious as the passengers on the bus just kept on getting more annoyed. She put one step in front of the other, slowly and carefully. With one hand on her walker, and one hand on the umbrella I coaxed her to keep going, but as I peered at her face amidst all the rain, Miri didn't seem to need it. She carried a look of determination; a look of strength I don't think I've ever seen. By this point I was pretty much covered in rain, plodding across the puddles on the street, making sure Miri had adequate head covering. Of course it was difficult, considering the terrential rain that continued to fall, accompanied by strong winds, thunder and lightening. One foot in front of the other, Miri walked. "We're almost there, Miri, you're doing a great job, keep going..." came my voice. She listened, didn't respond, and kept walking. Five minutes went by. Miri didn't give up. Ten minutes later, we made it to the ramp. She carefully walked into the building as I held open the door for her. When we entered the building, she pulled the hood from her jacket off her head and I was able to see a look of relief on Miri's face that soon turned into a smile. That smile seemed to say "I did it!" I walked her to the bathroom to make sure she didn't slip on the floor. The rain continued to fall, so I called for a counselor to bring a wheelchair to get her back on the bus. She zipped through the hallways, Miri sat down, and together they began their journey back to the bus, this time much easier considering she was being wheeled.The bus cheered as Miri got close. As the bus pulled away, I began to walk slowly back toward the building to finish my paperwork. I don't think I noticed that the rain was engulfing me. Instead I was focusing on Miri. How amazing she was, how incredible, to be so determined...so couragous...so strong willed? How happy she had been just to walk independently to the building in strong rain to use the restroom?!If Miri was able to do one foot in front of the other, can't the rest of us? Shouldn't we also be so appreciative of simple things like being able to use the bathroom on our own?May this all be a lesson for us to be so determined, and may one foot in front of the other get us all to where we need to be!