I Believe in the Walking Wounded.
Through my office door each day come the young, the old, the healthy, the infirm, the sane and the not so sane. If the human condition could be called a circus, I have a front row seat.
I am a family doctor and I believe in a group of people I call the walking wounded. “Walking wounded” may not be the best descriptive term, but it is the best I can do.
The walking wounded differ from other people. I look to them for the wisdom I cannot find anywhere else. I rely on them because they have an understanding of life surpassing others.
The walking wounded, through no fault of their own, have been injured, sometimes badly. The wound may or may not be physical. It may be cerebral palsy, heart disease or cancer. It may be old age, job loss or divorce. They are wounds nonetheless.
Eventually everyone suffers wounds, but the walking wounded choose to go on living. They could have withered, withdrawn and quit. They could have raged with anger, howling at man and God. Perhaps they did once, but at some point they chose to go on.
The walking wounded change. They realize they did nothing wrong. They learn neither fortune nor misfortune is earned nor deserved. They know neither belief nor faith nor birthright nor wealth nor education makes a person invulnerable to bad times.
Knowing these things, the walking wounded show me what is truly important. They tolerate pretensions, hypocrisy and nonsense poorly. They are first to celebrate your joy and first to share your grief. Their love is unconditional.
I see the walking wounded throughout history. I read their stories and seek their wisdom. I find them among my acquaintances and my patients. They instruct my decisions and give me direction.
I believe in the walking wounded.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.