For various reasons, I must remain silent regarding some details of the experience I wish to share with you. Pseudonyms are being used in this story, and if this post seems unusually vague at times, know that there is a reason.
There is always a reason.
Last week, I was unfortunate enough to encounter the "R" word again. Retard. Retarded. The variation matters not. It was uttered by someone who knows better. In fact, it disappointed me quite a bit to know John in particular used this word. I immediately became defensive and formulated in my mind what action I would take. It would have to be addressed.
It was not until the next day that I would be able to do anything about it. And I was pleasantly surprised as someone else approached me before I did. Amy, who I think very highly of and who was familiar with this situation approached me and asked if I had been offended by this. I said that I was, and that I was really very disappointed. Not only that this word had been used, but that it was John that used it. Amy and I talked about it at length.
I'm tempted to say that it would not have been appropriate for me to approach John, but that's not quite it. It's a little more political than that. Amy asked if I wanted her to say something to John and I said yes. I'm positive that she will -- if she hasn't already. Amy will probably fill me in on the conversation, but maybe not. It's fine either way.
I thanked Amy for coming to me about this. It meant a lot. As I walked away from her, I thought about it and felt good. I'm glad that John will realize what he said. I hope he's a little embarrassed. But more than that, I hope he realized the impact of what he said.
And then I saw him. A man that I had never seen before, or if I did, one that I never really paid much attention to.
Wearing a Buddy Walk t-shirt.
I smiled. And as I kept walking, a feeling of pride grew inside me.
And then I realized what I was wearing. A blue shirt and a yellow jacket-vest.
Fate. Karma. Serendipity. Call it anything you'd like. There was something very special in those few moments.
And there's one more thing. As I was doing a Google image search for the term "serendipity", I found the lovely picture that opens this post.
It's of tulips.
I found it on page 21.