I Met Eric

I took my friend to a new coffee shop.  Set out in the rolling hills of the country, with outside patios and a balcony, it was a perfect place to go on a Sunday afternoon while scouting new trails to hike.  I purchased my coffee and sandwich and went outside to the balcony to save us a table.  My friend did not show up until I was nearly done with my sandwich.  I asked her what happened.  She said “I met Eric”.

Right behind her, coming through the door and up the steps, was a man.   I knew immediately it was “Eric”.   It was apparent, quickly by sight, that Eric had a physical disability.  It was learned, by talking with him, what had happened.  Though inquisitive as I may be I would never start to question someone about their story unless they initiated the conversation.  Eric did.  He followed us up to the balcony over looking the countryside, sat at the table next to us and engaged us in conversation.

His smile was disarming.  His cane and anything first noticed by eyes was quickly replaced with what was learned through his words.  Twenty-seven years ago he was driving his truck.  A woman in another vehicle was putting on eye-liner while she was driving.  She “t-boned” his vehicle.  He spent the next two years of his life in a hospital and rehabilitation.  He was told he would never walk again.  We saw first hand the inaccuracy of that prediction.

During his story he smiled.  A lot.  Actually I don’t remember him not smiling.  He said he used any anger he may have had from the accident as fuel, energy to heal and rehabilitate.  Even though he recognized that the accident was most likely preventable he also voiced that he knew that woman did not wake up that morning, stretch out of her sleep and say “I think I’ll go kill someone today”.

By this point we were asking questions.  He was happy to answer.  I think he was happy in general.  He could not work after the accident.  He did get to a point where he could travel, so he did.  A good deal it sounds like.  He traveled alone.  He did his own thing on his own time line.  At one point I stated that it didn’t seem like what he went through, stopped him, from anything.  He said it had not.  He told us he eventually met the love of his life.  Joan.  They were married for ten good years before she was diagnosed with brain cancer.  They had three more years together.  He was helpless in stopping what was happening to her.  I asked if that wasn’t much harder, to see her go through that, than what he had gone through.  He said it was much more difficult.

The three of us discussed relationships.  He said he and Joan didn’t argue.  When one of them had a problem with the other they discussed it.  There was never any name calling or snipping at one another.  My friend said the minute disrespect enters a relationship it goes downhill.  We all agreed.

I couldn’t help but notice how bright his eyes were, the dimple when he smiled, the high arches of his eyebrows when he became more expressive.  And mostly, I couldn’t help but notice his comfort in talking with us.  I told him that I shouldn’t need to hear his story to be more grateful for my life, but I couldn’t help but feel grateful for the blessings I’ve had.  He responded that we really don’t know how good we have things…until we hear or recognize others stories.

We parted without any fanfare.  Grateful to have heard his story.  Grateful for someone we didn’t know to have healed through all of his suffering and enjoy his life.  Grateful for a Sunday afternoon and the ability to go looking for small adventures with a friend, drinking coffee, and hearing life stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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35 thoughts on “I Met Eric

  1. ivor20 says:

    Eric sounds like a person I would be to chat to very easily… His smile and attitude for life would fill my coffee cup with liquid joy, and I’m sure we would smile at each other and be grateful and gracious for the chat…….. 😂☺️😎

    Liked by 2 people

  2. When we listen to others story, we are able to learn a lot and people with a positive attitude are always inspiring, Colleen 🙂

    Like

  3. Chuck Lee says:

    Colleen, what an inspiring“slice of life” story. It was so timely for me. I just learned today that the valve in my heart is defective. I’m probably too old to do much about it, bu the story of Eric gives me hope. Thank you.

    Like

  4. Jodi says:

    Thank you for sharing Eric with us. A good reminder and inspiration for all of us!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like Eric. Thank you for sharing him.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. tric says:

    Real life and real people are so much more fascinating than even the best books.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks to your post, I’VE met Eric too. And I am giving him a virtual hug. I’m sending out love vibes. I’m wishing everyone could meet Eric and see what a beautiful thing it is to be a kind, joyful, giving, loving human being. May we all put a bit of Eric into ourselves. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  8. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Some people do not even know how good they have it, Colleen, and all they do is complain and moan about their life. On the other hand, some people like Eric have been through more hells then most, yet he has CHOSEN to smile and carry happiness in his heart. I declare, I swear(!) that those who have lived through bone shattering, life altering nightmares, come out with such a Joy and Gratitude just to be alive. Thank you so much for sharing this story. Your words grabbed such a strong hold on me.

    Like

    • I’m glad Eric is being ‘met’ by so many gracious hearts AmyRose. I hope I meet him again so I can tell him about everyone. Everything you said is so true. Here’s to hoping all of us who need some of Eric’s ability to make the choice to love life. Or to have the strength to fight their way through their own turbulences to find happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. dogear6 says:

    Thanks for sharing! Did your friend know him before running into him at the restaurant?

    Nancy

    Like

  10. beth says:

    he sounds like a wonderful person and what people you are to have connected

    Like

  11. gypsy856 says:

    Wow, you are a good listener. He was indeed a gift.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Debra says:

    You meet some wonderful people, Colleen. I enjoy hearing about them. And Eric seems a very special person!

    Liked by 1 person

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