Last weekend, my husband surprised me with a getaway weekend for my birthday. While relaxing in the shade at the hotel’s pool, I couldn’t help but do a little people-watching, especially since there were folks of every size, shape and age.
I noticed that there were people desperately trying to disguse their shapes under billowing cover-ups and t-shirts while others seemed to bask in the attention that their well-toned bodies brought. It occurred to me that only the very young were totally carefree about body image.
I saw tattoos on unlikely middle-aged women and a few skimpy swimsuits on overweight, balding men. There were muscular young adult guys, bikini-clad pre-teens and a few women ripe with an unborn child.
I noticed how some people seemed afraid to let go of the pool’s edge while one man selfishly commandeered a large area of the pool as if it was his alone. Then there were some who never even got wet.
Amid the cacophony of squealing kids and splashing waterfalls, I heard the voice of a young girl, about six years-old. She was beckoning an older couple, presumably her grandparents. “Come on in! Puh-leeze,” she said in a sweet, non-whining voice, trying to lure them from their comfortable lounge chairs.
It wasn’t long before the grandfather began to unfold himself from the lounge chair. I could almost hear his creaking bones as he slowly stood and unbuttoned his tropical shirt, revealing a large scar– a likely remnant of open heart surgery. With a bit more encouragement, the grandmother got up, too, and began to untie her long wrap. The spider web of varicose veins on her legs could not be missed.
The young girl quickly positioned herself between the two older adults and grabbed their hands. The grandparents’ feet were careful as they walked toward the pool. The girl was patient, matching her pace to theirs. I saw broad smiles stretch across all of their faces as they stepped into the clear blue water… together.
It was a memorable image of how love can move us from our comfort zone. Of how the young can encourage the old to live and how the old can model grace and dignity in late years. Suddenly I realized that I had just witnessed a sermon at the swimming pool. Oh the goodness of God! Amen.