I was driving home one evening, tired out and desperate for a chance to have a shower and then relax on the sofa with my feet up and a cup of tea. It was then that I spotted her. Señora Hilda is an old lady who lives in our village. She is now well into her seventies and suffers from a chronic illness that leaves her unable to get out much. She was sitting inside her living room with the front door open, watching the world go by. What caught my attention was the fact that she was sitting bolt upright in a $10 plastic chair. There was no sofa in her bare living room. Her swollen ankles were hanging to the floor, instead of being gently raised on a soft foot stool. There was not a comfortable cushion in sight.
It made me wonder what I expect to be doing when I finally reach old age and am frail and want to rest my aching bones. I hope I am not sat in a hard, plastic chair.
It is easy to think that will never happen to me – after all, I am working hard and saving for retirement. Surely I deserve more.
But Señora Hilda has worked hard all her life too. She raised six children. She still keeps chickens and pigs. She has washed clothes by hand all her life and carried heavy sacks of bananas, corn and manioc. She has carried buckets of water from the well to cook and wash, and cooked every meal she has ever eaten from scratch. No wonder she is now frail and worn out. She does deserve a rest.
But despite the hard chair she is happy. She is surrounded by her children and grandchildren. She lives near the friends she has had since she was a child herself. She enjoys watching them go by of an evening, and calls out to greet them and hear their news. I don´t think she worries about her plastic chair.
I hope when I am old and frail I am surrounded by loved ones. Maybe what kind of chair I am sat upon is not so important after all.