Tuesday, 30 August 2011
I had a professor in college. His name is Dr. Wes Gerig. He taught at my school for 51 years, until the school eventually closed. When I was in school, he was 83 years old.
When he was 3 years old, he was hit by a car. The physicians thought he was going to die. When the doctors saw he was getting better, they knew he could live a long life, but he'd be mentally retarded and would never be able to walk again. But he got better. And he grew in knowledge and wisdom. His leg was crushed -- and I mean crushed -- but he could walk with a cane. This man eventually went on to get his PhD and became a professor at my school.
Now again, he was 83 years old when I was attending school. He walked with a limp -- a big limp because his left leg was not strong enough to keep him up. As he'd take a step with his left leg, he'd shrink down about a foot. He kind of had an up and down motion as he'd limp along. Before class, we'd always knew he was coming because we heard his cane clicking in the hall, the length was adjustable, so his cane clicked when he walked. We would hear a "clickclick clickclick clickclick" that would go on for five minutes as he was walking down the hall from his office to the classroom. This is what this man did every day, multiple times.
It was a sad sight to watch him scoot and drag down the hallway. But he smiled, regardless. We all wanted to get him a hoveround or some other type of electric scooter, but he was too proud. He loved teaching so much that he didn't care if he had to struggle down the hallway to teach his class. He believed that it was his lot in life to deal with his crippled leg. Yet, through all of this, he was in class every morning -- and in the 50+ years he was teaching, he only took one sick day, and that was because he had surgery to get his gallbladder removed. That was when I was in school.
Eventually, he caved and accepted an electric scooter. He knew it was for the best because, well, he was just an old, crippled man.
Now he never wanted to retire. He didn't feel like it was right and he felt like it would be unhealthy for him to slow down.
The truth is, keeping active is the secret to staying young. My old professor is now around 86 and he just put out a new book called, "The Core of Christian Love". Not many 86 year-olds will do that.
Who is an inspiration to you and why? What do you find inspirational about Dr. Gerig? What are you doing to be inspirational to others?