Gail's Book Nook

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Looking Out the Window: An Unexpected Kindness

Usually when I travel, I swim early in the morning before the pool opens, so I won’t be in the way of anyone else. But, this May, when I went on a Florida vacation with my family, I awakened each day to a temperature in the fifties and a north to northeast wind, gusting at thirty to forty miles per hour. By the afternoon when the sun had warmed the day to seventy something, the pool looked like a cross between an adult pool party and a kid’s birthday celebration. I didn’t want to join the women and men sun bathing on the blue and white chaise lounges, and I felt I’d be out of place in the crystal, clear blue water with the kids diving for their swimming pool rings, floating on rafts and jumping from the sides of the pool, not to mention that they left no room for a lap swimmer. However, after four days my yearning for water exercise grew great, so I put on my suit, cap and goggles and headed to a place far different from Cobb Aquatic Center in Marietta, Georgia, the indoor pool where I swim all year with like-minded patrons who wear caps, goggles and occupy their own lanes.

By the time I reached my destination many of the children had taken a break, gathered around a group of men and women who had their lawn chairs pulled up to the edge of the pool. Only a couple boys around middle-school age played in the ten-foot-deep area. Seeing this moment as my best opportunity to work out, I got in and slowly waded toward the rope between the shallow and deep ends of the pool. Pondering if the Mothers and Fathers would gasp in horror if I removed the divider, I also wondered how I’d politely ask the youngsters still standing between me and my swim to share. Then, I noticed two young ladies sun bathing right in front of where the two boys hung on a ladder. One of the gorgeous girls with long blonde hair, who sunned her back, raised her head and watched me with interested big blue eyes. Even though both youngsters had brown eyes and brown hair, I thought perhaps one of them was her younger brother, and she was taking care of them, so I asked, “Are you with the guys?”

In a kind voice she said, “No, I’m not, but they can move if they’re in your way. Do you want to swim laps?”

She understood. “She’s a swimmer,” I thought. But more importantly, judging from her assessment of my awkward situation and her concerned look, she was a caring young woman conscious of the needs of others, such as a Christian would be. “Actually yes, I’d like to move the rope and swim on this side for about fifteen minutes.”

“Sure,” she smiled at me. Then she said, “Guys, you play here. She’s going over there and use that side of the pool.”

They looked a bit shocked, but said, “O.K.”

I thanked them, swam my laps, and got out refreshed.

Matthew 7: 12: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”