Monday, April 2, 2012
Somewhere in the US, there is a Soldier who has lost both his legs. He and his wife have been through absolute hell. He is slowly, painfully, agonizingly learning to walk again, but mostly when you see him he will be in a wheelchair until he's healed enough to use his prosthetics.
Yes, he's missing his legs. Yes, it was a tragedy. It's probably something you haven't seen before, so it's natural for your eyes to look down and register. Part of your brain might even be wondering "I wonder if he's a Soldier. I wonder if it was an IED. I wonder what happened."
That's natural. That's normal.
But STOP STARING.
Once you look? Once your brain registers that something has happened? Look up again. Make eye contact. Say hello if it's appropriate, and if not-- just act respectful and let this man and his family go on with their lives. They are in the grocery store, at the airport, at an amusement park and they are trying to get back to being a family again. Leave them be. Don't make them feel any more self-conscious or out of sorts than they already do.
Somewhere in the US, a spouse wrote the following--
"I wish people would stop staring at (him). We went to Sea World yesterday and I was walking right beside him and I noticed many many people look at (him) and then immediately stare at his legs. There were quite a few people who were not even trying to hide that they were staring at him, doing the whole head turn and even two people that turned around to stare after we passed them. I wanted to rip their heads off. And I know it really bugged him a lot and another reason why he prefers to not be in big crowds :("
Isn't it enough that he is fighting so hard to heal and they are trying so hard to be a family again?
So don't stare. Make eye contact. Smile, if appropriate. Open a door if that's needed. But leave them alone. And tonight, when you're home again-- say a prayer of healing for him and his family. And a prayer of thanks for the sacrifice they've made.