Tuesday, August 08, 2006

If You Ever Think Things Are Tough

Zacateros is a long stretch of road in San Miguel de Allende. It is mostly commercial, small businesses from tiendas to restaurants to a coffin maker. There isn’t a lot of zoning in Mexico.

Tonight, on the way home from a tavern I frequent on the tough days, I was in the midst of self-pity. A Board of Directors meeting had not gone my way. I was not able to use my persuasive abilities to make others see the light. I had failed. Combined with a little tequila, it can almost bring tears to your eyes. Almost, but not quite.

As I was slogging along the cobblestones in my beaten up van I noticed an old man walking – hobbling actually. As I got closer, I could see he had a cane upon which every other step rested.

No, that’s not a cane. I looked closer.

It was a stick. A plain unvarnished stick.

This man could not even afford a crutch, a cane, anything to help him make his way down the long thoroughfare to his destination. He was doing it all with a stick.

I slowed a moment and he stared at me. On his face was, well, nothing. Not sadness, not lamentation, just conviction. He was going to make it wherever he was headed. And, I thought, we all will, like it or not.

My problems faded. I was too embarrassed to consider them further.

As the gates to our compound opened I looked in my rearview mirror and thought I saw the old man again. But no, it just was my reflection. Like he, there was nothing to worry about. There was just a direction, a way, not good, not bad, just the next step, without judgment.


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