Through The Eyes Of A Blind Man.
Jim has it all. He has a wife and two kids, owns a fancy house, drives an expensive sedan and takes vacations that are the envy of everyone he knows. He was also just accepted at his town’s most exclusive country club.
And why shouldn’t he live like this? As an executive, he’s earned it, fighting his way up the ladder using his no-holds barred approach, and now making a lot of money.
Yet he isn’t happy. He often feels stressed and his schedule is so busy, he had to cut some of the “fat” out of it. He joined a Health Spa but has no time for workouts. He’s 30-pounds overweight.
Jim used to enjoy reading novels but there isn’t time for something so frivolous. He enjoys writing poetry and years ago wrote a poem to his wife that touched her heart, and that she treasures to this day. But it’s been many years since he’s written a verse to express his love for her.
Lately Jim’s stomach has been upset, his blood pressure is up and he feels as if something is missing from his life. But how can something be missing when he has everything he strived for?
One day after a stressful meeting, Jim asked his assistant to reschedule his appointments and he took a walk outside the office complex. Soon he came to a park and sat down on a bench, trying to forget that meeting, still cursing its other participants.
A few minutes later, a 60 ish blind man with curly gray hair, wearing black sunglasses, walking slowly, carefully touching a white cane to the sidewalk to find his way, sat down next to him.
Hearing Jim sigh, the man reached out his hand and said, “Hi, my name is Robert, what’s yours?”
“Jim,” he replied brusquely, as he shook Robert’s hand.
“What’s the matter Jim,” Robert asked after an awkward moment of silence. “What on this warm spring day is bothering you?”
“My problems are bothering me,” Jim replied as his voice rose with emotion. “It is amazing what I have to put up with!” And then he began telling Robert his problems and Robert politely listened.
After about 30-minutes, Jim was largely talked out and sat silent. “Thank you Jim,” Robert said. “I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me, and I’m sorry that you have so much frustration.”
Then Robert inhaled deeply, and slowly exhaled, as he savored the air. And then he said to Jim, “Do you smell roses?” Jim looked and noticed there were several rose bushes in front of them.
“Yes,” Jim said with a shrug. “So what?” Robert replied, “I’ve been blind since I was 3. I’ve often smelled their heavenly perfumed scent. But I’ve never seen one. Could you describe it to me?”
“Can you picture colors in your mind,” Jim asked. “I can,” Robert replied. “Here’s one that is bright red, with a golden yellow center,” Jim said. “Each flower is a little round ball about the size of your hand. And the bush is filled with them.” Robert was quiet as he pictured the roses in his mind and then he asked, “How big is the bush?”
“It’s about the height of your waste,” Jim replied. “And as wide as it is tall.” Robert smiled wistfully and as Jim saw Robert’s fascination with the roses, he began to see them in a way he never had before.
“Robert,” he said, “I see even more. There are golden yellow butterflies about the length of your index finger and they are fluttering gently in the air and landing softly on the flowers.” Now Jim’s voice was filled with fascination as if he had just seen these sights for the first time.
Robert smiled, and then he startled Jim when he said, “Jim, what do find meaningful in your life?”
Jim hadn’t thought about that in a long time, and he pondered the question. “What always gave my life meaning,” he replied, “Is my personal relationships. I haven’t given enough time in recent years to my wife and children, and those children are growing up so quickly without much of me in their lives. My wife is raising them almost like a single parent.
“And she and I have grown apart. She thinks I don’t understand her, nor am I sensitive to her feelings. I think she doesn’t understand all the pressures I face nor appreciate the value of the money I make.”
“Those things are pretty important,” said Robert in a soft voice. “Are there other things that give your life meaning?” For about 30-seconds, silence filled the air and then Jim’s words flooded out.
“I remember,” Jim said, “How I used to mentor others in my company. And how happy I was when they took my advice and got ahead in their careers. I remember how I used to sing in the church choir and as I listened to the music and felt the majesty of the church, I felt closer to God.
“I remember when I was in college,” Jim said with a big smile, “I and others joined with the senior citizens to convince our local officials to build a senior citizen’s center.” And then with pride in his voice, he added, “We really made a difference when we got that center built.”
Jim looked at his expanded waste line. “I remember when I was in shape and in good health,” he said in frustration. “Now I’m embarrassed to visit my Doctor and listen to her tell me what I should be doing to take of care of myself.
“And I miss reading for pleasure,” Jim added. “It used to relax me.”
Robert smiled at Jim, placed his hand on Jim’s shoulder and said to him, “You just outlined what would bring balance to your life and make you a much happier person. The long stressful hours of work and the money it brings aren’t fulfilling you, and if you continue doing what you’re doing, you will shorten your life and miss most of its meaning.
“Rather than be a visitor in your own life,” Robert added, “Live each moment of it. Do what gives you meaning, do what gives you a sense of purpose, and you will find fulfillment.”
Jim was nearly speechless. “Thank you,” he finally uttered and shook Robert’s hand firmly. “What you did with me today is profound, and I’m going to change my life. And it will start with me going home and telling my wife and my kids how much I love them. Robert, I’ve never before seen the world through your eyes and now that I have, I’m going to set wiser priorities.”
Robert smiled broadly, gave Jim a hug, and said to him, “Good luck my friend. And you will soon find the fulfillment that has eluded you.”
Success Tip of the Week:
If your life has become a rat-race, take a break and go smell the roses. And while you do, decide what would bring your life greater meaning and then make the changes that will bring you fulfillment. For in your heart, there is a Robert speaking with you.
In the next KazanToday:
A 100-year-old man offers us some valuable lessons in life.