I often go to the pool to swim laps. I love the sound of water going in and out my ears, with every stroke the rhythm begins drowning out my thoughts. The faster I go, the cadence leads me to a clear mind that is only focused on counting my laps. I am free...
On this particular day most of the lanes were occupied. As I was swimming, I noticed two lanes down a swimmer that was motivating me to kick harder and reach further, to keep up with his or her pace. After doing that for several laps I stopped to grab my water bottle at the edge of the pool. That is when I noticed the wheelchair. I surveyed the area to find out whose chair it was, but could not figure it out. Than Speedy on lane two stops as well, and I realized that it was her chair.
For some reason this sobering thought completely gripped me that this girl swims laps around me in more ways than one. I stood there in the pool with tears streaming down my face. I had to ask myself "who was really handicapped in this pool?" Who was being held back from limitations either physical, mental, or self-created? Which is worse? All of these thoughts and questions bombarded me as I stood there. And it was in those moments that I realized it was me in the wheelchair.
This girl may have been born with her disability or perhaps accident related, but either way she was in the pool. And while two lanes over I am in the process of drowning out my thoughts because they are all negative, all self-harming, and all wrongly-rooted, I think to myself that it is her thoughts, self-talk, and faith that got her in this pool in the first place.
Why is it that someone who was born with the blessings of health and a fully functioning body and brain, can feel so invaluable and worthless? I often feel the inability to move, to change, or to take action when in actuality I physically have the capabilities. Why do I need to see a wheelchair or a person living on the street to begin to count my blessings? It is not about feeling pity for others in order to feel better about yourself, it is opening your eyes to see the world and people around you. To remove yourself from YOUR circumstances and YOUR daily grind, to interact and to love on the people around you. To connect and relate and help and care and create and make CHANGE for what brings tears to your eyes in a pool on a day when you feel like life is not worth living.
Because when I dig deep in the depths of my heart, I want to be a pillar for love and strength and faith, but that will only happen if I start with myself. Speedy two lanes down helped me uncover another self-created layer guarding my soul. A soul that desires to dance along side all other souls to make humanity a little brighter and little more connected.