Les is More

Posted on May 16, 2015 under Storytelling with no comments yet


Les. A lesson about perspective



I recently completed a cross country trip with my son.  We traveled from Vancouver to Halifax via the northern United States, re-entering Canada at Windsor, Ontario.  There were spectacular sites and memorable moments.  We passed through the majestic Rocky Mountains and zipped through the Great Plains.  We saw territory very near the battlefield of the Little Bighorn known as Custer’s Last Stand.  We posed for photos at Mount Rushmore and saw one of the biggest car assembly plants in the world in Belvidere, Illinois.  And we ate many fantastic meals and a few that were anything but heart healthy.  We traversed a route of more than 6300 kilometers in just under six days.

Every trip has at least one memorable moment.  Mine was a side trip we made to visit a relative at St. Mary’s on the Lake in Kingston, Ontario.  It sounds like the name of a resort until you enter the front door and see the wall of wheel chairs.  You realize that you have entered a place of shattered bodies … and of healing.

My nephew was involved in a terrible accident eight months ago and he has made an amazing recovery. But he also faces some major hurdles.  He has a lot of company among the other residents.   A few of them will live the remaining days of their lives in this facility.

After a half hour of chatting with Mike in his room, we all made our way outdoors to a shelter erected for the smokers.  There I met Les and Willie. Willie is a quadriplegic and has been a resident for 20 years. Les was involved in a motorcycle accident five years ago and he, too, is a quadriplegic.  He has the use of one hand.  That’s it.  I got involved in a lively discussion with Les.  I noticed right away that he isn’t angry or bitter about his lot in life.

He told me about the accident and how he had lost just about everything; his home, his employment (he was a long haul trucker) and most of his worldly possessions, save for his beloved Harley tools.  Perched on his head was his prized leather Harley ball cap.

However, Les hasn’t lost it all.  His sense of humour is intact, as is his perspective.  He told me that there are a lot of people inside who are far worse off than he is.  I struggled with this thought momentarily. Willie was hanging on every word and, though his speech was garbled, he understood everything we were saying.

As we were nearing the end of our visit I asked Les what keeps him going.  What motivates him to face another day?  Do you know what he said?  “Being able to come outside and sit in the sun.”  Wow.  Too many of us are searching for life’s ultimate experience, and all Les needs is the warmth of a spring morning.

We took our leave.  I didn’t feel sorry for these folks; rather, I was moved by the resilience and the strength of character that I had just witnessed.

Sometimes, Les is more.


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Highland Hearing Clinic

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