Not long ago, I had a friend who was involved in a tragic accident. He was driving along at night when suddenly – Bang!
A kangaroo struck him. It’s quite a common concern when driving at night here in Australia. They freeze from the headlights and end up jumping right towards your car. This is what happened to Joel. The Kangaroo smashed right into the windscreen, and he lost control, hitting a solid oak tree.
He woke up a few days later to these sobering words.
“I’m sorry, Joel, but you are unlikely to walk again.”
Eventually, Joel flourished and made the best of his circumstances. The key ingredient was his enormously supportive family. They knew it was hard. They knew it sucked, and they knew they couldn’t understand what Joel was going through, but they were there for him.
Let’s imagine if their support was different and they took another approach. What if they told Joel that legs don’t matter and to just stop worrying? That legs aren’t actually that important or necessary in life.
What if, instead of losing his legs, Joel lost the genetic lottery? He was born with a genetic blueprint that grew into a person we would consider less physically unattractive?
Too often, we say this to the people without a lucky draw in the good-looking department. Look’s don’t matter, look’s aren’t important, don’t worry about it. What’s more, it often comes from the best-looking of us. It’s not that different from strolling up to Joel on our own two legs to support him with some words about legs shouldn’t matter.
Maybe it’s well-meaning; maybe it’s just to put a feather in the cap. The point is moot because supporting someone is about what’s best for them.
By dismissing the challenges they face, we are disregarding their own feelings and struggles.
As we evolve, looks matter less and less, antedating themselves to intelligence, success, and inner substance. But looks still matter, and to an extent, they always will.
Genetics might have denied us physical aesthetics, but they can’t deny us of our own struggles and the sense of pride in overcoming them. Only we can do that to each other.Published in