Ted Baxter suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed on one side and unable to speak. Eventually, he was strong enough to visit his favorite coffee shop, but his speech was still difficult to understand and he walked with a limp. Ted recalls that many people were empathetic when they saw a man with a limp joining the line for coffee.
However, there were folks who were in a hurry and didn’t have the patience for a slow-moving person, recalls Ted. “Some people didn’t know how to approach me because my speech, at that point in my recovery, was still very poor. I became extremely lonely,” says Ted. A few coffee shop patrons understood that Ted had aphasia, and would help him out by stating his coffee order to the barista. On one occasion, someone in line behind Ted complained, “Coffee shops shouldn’t allow someone with a foreign accent to order during rush hour.” Ted says, “I wish the world would understand what it means to perform simple, everyday tasks after a stroke.”
In our busy world, we are often too busy to see the caregiving opportunity right in front of us. Ephesians 4:2 reminds us “Be always humble, gentle and patient with one another. Show your love by being tolerant with one another.”
Sometimes “caregiving” is as simple as giving someone the gift of your patience.