Do you know the story of the blind boy and his sign? He sits on the steps of a building with a hat and a sign which reads, ‘I am blind, please help’. There are only a few coins in the hat; spare change from folks as they hurry past. A man walking by, drops a few coins, but then takes the sign, turns it around and writes some words before leaving. Soon the hat begins to fill up. A lot more people are giving money to the blind boy. When the man who changed the sign returns, the boy recognises his footsteps and asks, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?” The man says, “I wrote what you said but in a different way.” ’Today is a beautiful day, but I cannot see it.’ Both signs speak the truth. The first simply say the boy is blind, while the second conveys to everyone walking by how grateful they should be to see…

Today I woke up early to get ready for a yag laser procedure for my right eye. I am told by the doctor who would be operating on me that it would take only a few minutes and I could go home. I remember the story about the blind boy because, from the arrangement for this procedure, checking on insurance claim, going to the hospital, the registration, to the waiting, the actual surgery, and going home, it has been, to me, an exercise in gratitude. The eye surgeon is a friend whom I trust. My insurance agent is also a friend who helped with my claim. My close circle of friends were all quietly concerned and happy to know the laser surgery went well. My eldest sister boiled a special soup for dinner. Colleagues who are working with me on projects, were understanding when I underestimated the down time and meetings were rescheduled…

In the past, I would see this as a minor day procedure, all in a day’s work. Today I took heed of advice from friends to take the afternoon off to rest. And there is someone who, like the man who changes the sign for the blind boy, took time off from his busy and pressing schedules to drive me to the hospital, accompanied me to the clinic, took a bite with me at an eatery, then to the hospital, and while waiting told me stories after stories to distract me from the impending surgery. A surgery, however simple, is a surgery. I was mildly distracted and concerned. As he was driving me home, I realised, along with all my friends and family, this day is as close to any I can get, to having a day of love that I am grateful I can see, I can appreciate and I can remember…

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