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Joe Borzelliere: Dignity overshadows physical deformity

I have two grown children and two young grandchildren. They are all beautiful to look and walk with. Because of their looks I take great pride in them. However, recently I was a bit taken aback in what I saw. It made me think differently. What if I was not so blessed with my children and grandkids?

I was recently walking through the supermarket. It was a busy shopping day with lots of people inside the store.

As I was walking to the cashier with my stash of food in my carry basket, something caught my eye right in front of me.

There was a very elegant woman. She was very neatly dressed, walking and holding the hand of what looked like a teenage daughter.

The girl was also dressed very nicely. They were walking slowly because of the girl. She walked with a stiff, unsteady gait.

However, what really caught my eye was that there was something seriously wrong with the girl’s back.

As I hurried and began to walk wide around them, I noticed how really unfortunate-looking the young girl was.

The sight brought tears to my eyes.

However, then in a flash I thought, what if I had had a child like this girl? Would I be embarrassed having people see what I saw?

Yet there was something very calm about these two people. They seemed to walk very proudly.

They both looked straight ahead with the girl and mother walking very erect.

They did not have their eyes looking down, nor did they have their shoulders slouched down. There was no jacket or shawl to cover the back, or scarf to go over the girl’s head or face.

Somehow these two people exuded dignity, pride and courage. Somehow there did not seem a sense of pity, as I initially felt.

I know it might be hard to think like I did in the 30 or seconds that all this happened, but it happened. The emotions in me were all over the place in that short time.

These two people, as I said, brought tears to my eyes, not because of any sympathetic feelings, but for something much more positive.

To me they personified that one’s dignity, pride and courage are not dependent on what one physically looks like.

Instead they accentuated a person’s heart and soul deep inside, are what really is important.

In my opinion the Yiddish word chutzpah covers it all.

Chutzpah in one sense means the amount of courage, mettle or ardor that an individual has.

In the short time of my seeing these two individuals, I knew that they had more chutzpah than I, or perhaps any one else, could ever have.

I wished that I had the courage to go up and hug both of them. I’ll do the next best thing.

When I see my children and grandkids, I’ll be sure to give each one an extra long hug and kiss.