Friday, 22 August 2008

Another Wake Up Call

Last night I watched a documentary on television called Extraordinary People: A Woman with Giant Legs about a woman with "Proteus Syndrome" which makes her legs grow enormous compared to the rest of her body. Doctors don't know why her legs keep expanding and their only advise is for her to have both legs amputated, which will mean she would be stuck in a wheel chair. The woman, accompanied by her best friend, travelled to America to see if the experts could offer her a better options like prosthetic legs if she does go through with the amputations.

Despite her "disability" she still keeps going. She's got a degree, she can drive, she does charity work, and she keeps optimistic. At the end of the documentary we're left wondering what happens to her next. Does she go with the surgery or does she keep her legs?

As I was watching the documentary I kept wondering why she was going through that experience? Why am I watching this documentary in the first place?

This morning as I was waiting for the bus, I chatted to an elderly lady in her seventies or eighties who lives in the neighbourhood. She said how much things have changed over the years. She said in the past, around April or May, people would put away their winter clothing and bedding in preparation for summer and won't get them out again till in October or November. Now, you can't be sure because the weather has changed. No two days are the same.

As we were chatting, another woman turned up. She smiled and I returned her smile. The friend I was speaking to said hello and asked her how she was and she said she's still got her aches and pains. Now this woman has got a reputation for driving people away because she's constantly complaining. She told my friend she must feel the same way about her pain.

My friend said to the woman: "Did you watch that documentary last night about that young lady with giant legs?"


"Well, you should have seen it. This woman could hardly move but you didn't hear her complaining, she just got on with it."

The other woman said nothing and looked pensive.

When the bus arrived, I sat next to my friend and we discussed the documentary. My friend said the documentary had inspired her. She said if the other woman who is constantly complaining knew how much pain she's in, she wouldn't complain the way she does. My friend said whenever she's tempted to complain about her lot in life, she thinks of someone worse off. She said once she met a woman in the neighbourhood who she helped to get to the bus stop. She said the woman can hardly walk and yet she always carries with her sweets and chocolates to give to others. That woman is always in a good mood.

It would seem that the woman in the documentary is serving a purpose - inspiring others to never give up.


Related articles: Love is All in All - Part 2; Wake Up Call; Everything Has a Purpose; I Would Rather Be Grateful, Thank You; Not All Suffering Is