You Can’t Be Afraid Of What You Can’t See

New York City is filled with inspiration. I expected that I would find plenty of inspiration in this amazing city but I assumed that it would be in the art form- music, fashion, art.

 

What I didn’t expect was that it would be from a man on 23rd and 5th as I walked out of the subway station this afternoon.

 

After soaking up the sun in Central Park with a friend, we came up out of the subway station in front of the Flatiron building. Considering that it is a very busy area, the corner was filled with people of all kinds heading in all different directions.

 

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man walking into the street while the light was green and cars were speeding toward him. At first, this didn’t affect me. I thought that the man was your average New Yorker who was too impatient for the white man to appear on the opposite side of the street giving him permission to walk. However, I soon realized that this was no “average” New Yorker. In fact, this one stood out more than the rest of them….he was blind.

 

My instincts kicked in as I jumped towards him yelling that it was a green light. As I touched him, it was almost like his warmth spread throughout my body. Behind his hat and opaque glasses, I would estimate that he was in his 50’s. He softly smiled and thanked me but as I walked away, I felt his hand reach for mine and I soon realized that our arms were intertwined like branches of a tree.

 

We walked across the next two blocks with locked arms discussing how our day had been. Every once in a while I would interject that there was a curb or something to step over. I watched in amazement how he maneuvered his stick in front of him. After we got to his destination, he thanked me and continued on his way.

 

I almost regret departing from him so soon. I hope that he got to wherever he was going safely and that he found other people to help him cross the street.

 

I realize that there are many blind people in New York City- all over the world as a matter of fact. However, this one man made all of the difference to me. I didn’t even realize the effect that he had on me until well after we said our goodbyes.

 

Your 20’s are a scary time. I was just reading an article today about growing up and how frightening it is when you realize that your hometown isn’t your home anymore. Although I love New York City and Athens, it still is scary to me every time that I leave home. It’s hard not to focus on the fact that I am maturing everyday. Managing my bank account, filling out forms and making mature decisions are all things that are on my list of responsibilities. It is terrifying….

 

Although balancing a checkbook and job applications are intimidating, I think the scariest part of leaving the nest is not knowing what lies ahead.

 

But maybe that’s the best part…

 

I think that this man taught me more than how to use a stick to measure the height of the curb in front of him. He taught me the importance of being brave. It hurts my heart that I will never be able to tell him. I hope that he runs into other people and affects them the way that he did me.

 

We should all be encouraged to step out on a limb and see what’s out there…and we should do it with excitement and courage much like the blind stranger that I met today. He wasn’t afraid of the taxis and buses that were speeding towards him because when you think about it…you can’t be afraid of the things that you can’t see.

 

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