The family and I set out to enjoy a July summer day by heading to the newest neighborhood pool. Not just any pool, the first in the country to be filtered by natural plants rather than harsh pool chemicals. Pretty cool.
Even cooler is the fact that I can put the four year-old in the bike trailer and get there in 20 minutes, the entire route a paved bike trail.
So we arrived, locked my bike and headed into the free community lagoon when the lifeguards asked everyone to exit. We hadn’t even entered the pool deck.
And the pool wasn’t even open for more than a half hour. My son, and I’ll put myself in this catagory right along side him, wanted immediate gratification and to get wet. Before we could pick out our spot for fun in the sun, a lifeguard informed us that someone got sick in the pool. Yes, throw up.
The news came that it would be at least an hour, probably longer, before they would be letting swimmers return to the water. There goes my expectations of a relaxing Sunday summer afternoon by the water. And because I biked and our time was limited, I didn’t have the luxury of zipping over quickly to a different pool in another part of the city. But I did know of a splash-pad. You know one of those zero-depth entry type of wading pools with fountains to play in.
I found myself angry at the person who threw up in the pool for ruining my plans. I was also angry at the pool for allowing this to happen, the second time in three weeks according to my knowledge because this is the second time my family has been affected. I managed (I think) to hide my frustration from my son but my wife brunted most of this for him.
I resentfully obtained directions from a mother with several kids hanging around and jumped back on my bike to meet my wife and our baby at the next stop: a neighborhood wading pool.
The wading pool we ended up dipping into was in the heart of a community where 82% of the elementary school students receive free or reduced prices school lunches.
Just today I was receiving the messages from my readings and our visit to church to keep praying and to stay grateful. It’s as if this afternoon was designed for me to put this into practice.
I didn’t want to be at this pool. I wanted to be at the glamorous pool. Or at least one with depth and updated fountains, with lush grass to sit on (inside the fence) where I don’t have to hear what I am sure is cursing in a foreign language.
But as I rested on my blanket with my four month old daughter, I started to regain perspective and count the gifts I’ve been given. I recalled my four year old son say, “It’s okay dad, I don’t mind,” when I apologized for someone throwing up in the original pool. My wife is supportive. My kids are healthy and we are up to date on the bills.
We even had a few good laughs together as we surrendered to the events that unfolded.
Thank you. Thanks for the afternoon in the sun. Thanks for the time at the playground. Thanks for the delicious meal and our health. Thanks for the abundance and ability to give to those families receiving free and reduced lunches. Thanks for reminding me that it is key to stay grateful.
And I’d really appreciate a dip in the new pool one of these days. That is if it is His will.