Tuesday, June 19, 2012


A couple of days ago, I was at the pool with my family.  It was a little bit overcast and the pool was as empty as I've seen it, yet.  But, I saw two people - a man and a boy who made an impact on me. 

On one of the little snack breaks I was taking with my three year-old, we noticed a little boy standing outside the fence.  Not watching the swimmers with envy, but performing for an unseen audience.  He was holding a kid-sized electric guitar and proceeded to move his hands up and down the neck, spin around, and even "play" it behind his head.  So, I watched him play, and play, and occasionally pause to smack a mosquito or brush off an ant.  After a while, I thought he would be pleased if someone actually seemed to notice what he was expending so much energy to do, so I approached him at the fence and told him I'd love to hear him play something. 

He repeated his performance, with great gusto, without ever producing a sound from his guitar.  I told him he was very good and I learned in short time that he's going into the 4th grade, is going to be in a TX band one day (but far away from here), his next guitar, "Axe" is going to cost a million dollars, and he is going to play "A Slow Ride" on it.  I believe him.

The man, I noticed for a different reason.  He was lifted into the pool from his wheelchair.  He was probably in his 20's and was there with his parents and a couple of brothers (from what I could tell).  I had never seen someone enter the water from an electric wheelchair before, and I was eager to see who was going to be the one to carry him around or if they would take turns, and how it would go.  What unfolded was astoundingly beautiful to me.  He was totally independent in the water.  He was able to move around and support his own weight.  He didn't need anybody.  This took my breath away and I couldn't stop watching him. 

I wondered what the vast difference between being confined to a wheelchair and the weightlessness of being in the water felt like to him.  We left before they did, but I wondered if he wished his family would just leave him there.  I wondered if he pines for "water time".

As I reflect on the contrast and similarities between the two lives I was briefly privy to that day, I feel joy.  I feel like there are times in our lives when we are totally unencumbered.  In these cases, one when he has a guitar in hand, the other when he's in the water and wheelchair-free. 

We all have people and things and circumstances that bring out the best in us.  It is beautiful that we can do that for each other. 

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the gift of swimming pools during a Texas summer.  Thank you for the glimpses we get into other people's lives, that make us better people.  Thank you for times in our lives when we are pleasantly surprised!  Thank you for the opportunities to plant and harvest seeds of grace and joy.  Thank you for "unencumbered" moments.  Help us to live in such a way that other people are enriched, if they pause for a moment and take us in.  Help us to love You and everyone You put into our lives, more!  Amen.

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