I never saw their faces, but I knew who they were. From behind.
Two adults holding hands. One taller, one smaller. One leading the other; slowly.
A familiar outline, her unmistakeable shape and gait. Heads bowed, looking down at the pavement. Shuffling a little. Like a Charlie Mackesy illustration, but in real life.
Though in real life very few want to own this masterpiece.
And though I’d never set eyes on either one, I have seen them both before. I have heard others speak of them. This shuffling pair.
One person being led by another. Their image a negative left to develop in the darkroom of pity and now imprinted on the societal mind as such.
What a shame, they say. What a terrible shame.
Who will care when she cannot?
And they sigh.
I used to think there was no power in pity. Yet I see that pity brings powerful judgement. It asks questions that end with full stops. Pity does not want to know what the solution might be; that would mean purchasing a new book. Finding a new way. Too costly both in time and money, perhaps. Pity allows for no appeal in the Court of its judgment.
This mother. Her daughter. Perhaps I judge them too? Two women, one caring for the other but each one enjoying the other. If you look a little closer you might see this too. You might see what they see. You might see them.
The scales do not tip in one direction if the weights that are placed on them are of equal value.
Two humans walking around my home town. I walk where they do, only instead of holding a hand I hold handles – those of my daughter’s wheelchair. Mickey Mouse spins and grins inanely from the spoke-guards; evoking smiles from passers-by as opposed to frowns, thankfully. But pity is still there, I can feel it; and although Mickey is a welcome walking friend just now, we will one day outgrow his company.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So is pity. I say. And there is nothing pitiful or even outdated about the two women I saw walking today. However slow or painful they might appear to a world that rushes on by.
Their outline. Their conversation. Their caring.
If there is sadness, which certainly there is at times…… it is that they walk together, alone.
Two is company, but three is not always a crowd.
This walk; this very familiar walk of theirs; of ours, of others too.
It remains a walk that is illustrated by love; the details of which can readily be seen, shared and marvelled at by those who are willing to move aside the highway and step into our Camino.
Walk with us.