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old manimagesQFCWO58ISome years ago we observed a well dressed elderly man collapse against the sliding electric doors leading into Walgreens. We parked the car and helped him.

His skin, thin like parchment, peeled off in layers and bled through his shirt. His face and hands purpled with tender bruises. His large butterfly hands flailed when he reached for his glasses on the ground. His gray eyes, shell-shocked and panicked, locked with mine, uncomprehending. All his disjointed parts, it seemed, had scattered to the ground. “And how,” he must have wondered, “do I begin to pickup my broken pieces?”

We offered to drive him home or to a hospital but he refused. His soiled legs and arms trembled as he got to his feet. To this day I don’t know how he mustered the strength to gather up his soul into his thin, frail frame. But he did. He did despite whatever force had prevailed upon him moments before.

I’ve since thought of him often. And so it seems, the notion of one’s soul remaining upright, despite being buffeted here and there by life or one’s own failings, is universal.

It’s our nature to stand upright regardless of that which pulls us down.