Deflated and demotivated, I struggled to do anything productive today.
When my mood is low, and only Come Dine with Me for company, a walk can be a great idea. Just ask my dog, Russell, or any dog; say the word Walkies and he’s up and searching for his lead and tennis ball, tail wagging and a visible smile on his cute little face.
The idea was to get some exercise for us both, to clear my head and return with more determination to get on with what has to be done and what really can’t be put off.
Walking with Russell, I saw a man sitting on a park bench; he was enjoying the view over London and the sun that has come to visit after an extended absence from our skies.
I threw Russell’s tennis ball and the next thing I see is a second Jack Russell appear from beneath the bench and run to steal the toy.
Both myself and the man laughed and shared in the joy of these two similar creatures as they made friends.
I sat down beside the man and very quickly the conversation turned to his 4 months of serious health problems. He’d felt under the weather, as he put it, and on New Years Day he asked his wife to call the doctors surgery to see if he could get some antibiotics.
The doctor said that she would prefer to come and visit and after a few simple tests, within minutes, an ambulance was called.
He arrived at the hospital and was immediately admitted into Intensive Care. In and out of consciousness, he awoke to always find a friendly nurse by his bedside.
“Why are you doing this for me, I’m 79?!” he asked her.
“It’s what we do,” was her simple response.
It was Meningitis, the man told me. Doctors had said that if he’d left it even an hour longer, he could easily have died.
Two months in hospital and a month at home, unable to walk or do very much at all for himself, he slowly struggled to gain strength and now, here he was walking in the park with Midge, his son’s Jack Russell.
He repeatedly stressed how lucky he was, that he’d heard of much worse cases and that he felt more fortunate than many of the others who shared his hospital ward.
A short interaction with this man, whose name is Ray, certainly was more significant than you or I may have assumed it could have been.
I don’t know what you believe but I always look for the message that each interaction brings. There are no accidental encounters.
I needed to clear my head and I have been blessed to not just clear it but to have met a man who has, perhaps unknowingly, helped me to put things into perspective.
Life is precious and we should live every moment with purpose, even if that purpose is to walk the dog and talk to a stranger.