Learning From the Arrival of the Cane…

Using a cane… it’s one of those good news, bad news types of life events… and there are life lessons to be learned…

So, I’m currently the proud owner of a rounded and curved piece of metal, with rubber tips at the top and bottom… otherwise known as a cane.  Using this cane is to avoid having a hip replacement… call it what you will, I’m not ready for the surgery so the cane has become a necessary part of my every day life.

So, let’s start with what’s “bad” about a cane,  First, it is cumbersome… even though lightweight, it is a bother to have to look for it whenever one is going to stand up or get up.  And then one has to find a place to ‘put’ it when not in use… hanging on the edge of a table in a restaurant, on the back of a seat or a pew in church, on the floor of the car… you get it.  Using a cane, no matter how you look at it, makes you feel older, frailer, weaker.  And then there’s the stares you feel as you take a bit longer to stand and get acclimated, or as your walk from point A to point B is a bit longer than others around you.  Although it is sort of fun to follow a hostess into a restaurant and have her turn around at your assigned table, only to find you ten steps behind (why is it that we always get a table furthest away from the front door?!).  And using a cane means you spend more walking time looking down… to be aware of things that might cause a stumble.  FYI, you see a lot more spots on your rug and dirt under the kitchen table when you’re walking with a cane (!).  Finally, using a cane just means acknowledging that you need help, and for someone who wants to be ‘in control’, this can be a difficult adjustment.

So, is there anything good to say?  Well clearly, using a cane makes walking easier and less painful… it protects your injured limb and gives you stability and perhaps more confidence in your walking.  And, when you use a cane, you meet very kind people… although at first it’s a bit embarassing, there is pleasant surprise seeing how many people are genuinely willing to help… hold a door, wait patiently, offer to carry something… you get it.  Using a cane can be comforting, can reduce pain, can make ambulation much easier… kudos to the inventor of the cane… which goes back as far as the earliest, most primitive generation.

But this post is about life lessons… so what are they?  I had thoughts to share about this, but was drawn to the following from entrepreneur and inspirational speaker, Mark Fallon, president and CEO of the Berkshire Company… I hope you enjoy!

First Lesson: Everyone has moments of weakness, and even the toughest amongst us need help. There may not be a cane to tip us off. Pain doesn’t always manifest from a physical cause, and it’s hard to see scars on the spirit. We need to take care of the caregivers and look out for the strong people in our lives.

Second Lesson: None of us can get through life on our own. We need to be honest with ourselves and recognize our vulnerabilities. When we need assistance, whether professional or personal, don’t be afraid to reach out. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of intelligence.

Third Lesson: Recognize and accept kindness. Take nothing for granted – be grateful for every considerate gesture. Say “thank you” to people for their thoughtfulness – because you’re going to need it again in the future.



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