Wilmington, NC has had 57 + inches of rain this year. For Wilmington that is the amount of rain they usually get in a year! Not only is the ground saturated but the air is heavy and wet. It’s a bit like swimming through the atmosphere! Visiting my friends Blair and Inza here in Wilmington is a definite change from life in the mountains. My yard in the mountains is shady and tree filled; landscaped by mother nature. Here the beautiful, shady backyard is filled with flowers. It has been carefully planned and planted by loving and skillful hands.The breezes from the nearby ocean find their way to the deck that overlooks this cool inviting space.
I’ve found one cool spot here in Wilmington at the YMCA. They have a very nice pool where I can continue my exercise and therapy that is so important as I recover from the stroke. It’s been 2 months since the stroke and I am swimming laps now along with my exercise routine. The rerouting of messages between my brain and left side seems agonizingly slow, but I am kicking better and moving my left arm with a bit more accuracy.
The YMCA is full blown in the midst of their summer camp and the pool complex is teeming with children. It’s hard to hear anything over their excited voices and laughter. After swimming today I headed to the dressing room for a shower. Looking down the hall of showers it seemed to be wall to wall with giggling, chattering little girls. The camp counselor cleared a path for me to get to handicapped shower. Passing two of the girls, I saw one of them clearly and deliberately push the other from behind. An immediate response came from the girl who got pushed. “She pushed me!” I disappeared into the shower but listened to the ensuing conversation. “I didn’t mean to push you”, said the first little girl. (Right!) The counselor intervened, “Can you tell her how it made you feel being pushed.” “But, I didn’t mean to push her”, said the young hoodlum. “Okay”, said the counselor, “but she can tell you how it felt.” “It hurt me” the little victim related. “But I didn’t mean to!”, came the insistent denial. “Do you think”, said the counselor, “that you could just tell her that you are sorry she got pushed?” “Okay, well, I’m sorry that you got pushed and it hurt.” I’m thinking at this point that this is really an amazing exchange for two 7-8 year old girls. I’m beginning to reevaluate the hoodlum status of the “pushy” little girl when I hear her say, “But I didn’t mean to push you.” At this point the counselor rounded everyone up for the next activity and I continued with my shower, pondering how hard it is to take responsibility for our actions.
I don’t know if the counselor saw the deliberate push or not, but her efforts to help these little ones talk to each other was courageous. These little girls are on a journey towards becoming responsible adults. May God bless them on this journey with the guidance of many more like this camp counselor. Swimming in Wilmington has been good for me physically and emotionally. I can’t give up hope because, one child at a time, this world can become a better place.