We were complaining some time back that both of us needed to go see the eye doctor. My wife needed to have her glasses changed for a new prescription and I needed to get glasses.

Then we met Rudolfo.

Rudolfo is blind. But he has a beautiful voice. He walks along the Malecôn, a mile-long wide walk along the beach in Puerto Vallarta. He has a small device strapped to his chest. It amplifies music from a recorder the size of a cell phone.  Maybe it is a cell phone, for all I know. And Rodolfo sings. He walks along singing, and people will drop a few pesos into a small container also strapped to his chest.

Many days, he is also followed by a woman, who rests a hand lightly on his shoulder. She is his wife, and she is also blind.

He has a microphone, but the amplifier is set low so that is not obtrusive. In fact, ten feet away you wouldn’t hear him at all. But as he passes, you get this pleasant voice, singing quietly, offering what he can give. He does not ask for donations, but it is obvious this is his living.

We have had an opportunity to visit with him on a few occasions, when he was not singing and trying to earn a living. He is a humble man, always pleasant, never complaining, at peace with his place in life. We discovered his small device contains the music for three hundred songs. He can press a button and it scans through the songs so fast that I could hear only a blur of sounds. To me, it seemed there was one word, or maybe three notes, per song, and they were zipping by at five to ten songs per second. But to Rudolfo, they were clear. If I asked for a particular song, he would scan through the list and in seconds, he would have the music I requested. Clearly, his hearing is highly developed.

So, Rudolfo not only provides us with beautiful songs, but also reminds us that we have so much. I grumble about getting glasses. Rudolfo would love to have glasses, IF they would help. But they would not in the least. He and his wife both have been blind since birth. They do not grumble. They would like a few more pesos. But they are at peace with their lot.  Rudolfo sings beautifully.

And he has helped me.

James R. Callan, 2017


10 thoughts on “Complaining

  1. I’ve tried to adopt the habit of doing things immediately, when they occur to me. A device I picked up from my daughter. I tend to fret and imagine all those things that can go wrong (I have a lot of experience). Now I just try to blast ahead. Most of the time it works.

  2. I have tried to banish verbal complaints, and internal ones, too. Complaining is such a bore– a bad habit that accentuates the nevative.

    One of my pet peeves is when my kids use my washer and dryer, then leave the dry clothes in the drywr, instead of folding and putting them away. Today, I told myself to be grateful they did the laundry. The job is half done, not half unfinished.

  3. Beautiful! And soooo true. There’s always something going on in a life that gives cause for complaints. But sometimes a good long look at reality will yank you back to how fortunate you actually are. I’ve been lucky to live a pretty healthy life..until a recent bout of “annoying events” that set me back. And got me to whining a lot. So I started going to South-West Medical to resolve them. Now I see the suffering and discomfort and constant pain that soooo many people my age live in, and I decided it was time for me to siddown and shuddup…they must live with the un-fixable for the rest of their lives. I’m fixable. So I’ll be in the repair shop for a few days. Then I’m ready to get out on the road again. And I am totally grateful for that!

  4. It’s so easy to get into the trap of complaining, isn’t it? We are so blessed in this country, thanks for taking us with you to distant places and introducing us to those who can teach us how to appreciate more all that we have.

    • Isn’t it amazing that a humble man can teach so much without giving a single instruction. I going to try to go a full day without complaining about anything. Can I make it? We’ll see. Thanks for your great comment.

  5. The other lesson we might learn from your story is to use whatever gifts we have, no matter how small to achieve success. I may never be a best seller, #1 author on Amazon but I’ll keep plugging away with my little stories, making them as best I can for the enjoyment of others.

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