It was a typical calm and wild week. Mom’s starting a new business and I’m trying to wrestle with the challenges of keeping mine going forward. It seems every sale requires that much more work and effort as the economy has sucked the confidence and trust from so many financial venues. We live in interesting and tough times, but this weekend I was embarrassed by my own complaints of hardship and woe.
Saturday I was lucky enough to dive the Sea of Cortez and it was my experience there that helped me appreciate all the blessing we enjoy. It wasn’t my opportunity to arm wrestle with a 150 lb 6 ft Nurse Shark who was trying to steal food from the Moray Eel. No it was the other people in the tank.
We were working at the same time A-1 Scuba had brought in a group of handicapped young adults and a couple of disabled vets. It was amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. There were about 4 handicapped young men and 2 vets, all in wheelchairs and about 3 assistants for each person. These young men were missing an arm or leg and were paralyzed from the waist or neck down. One handsome young man in his early twenty’s had been hit in the neck by a sniper in Iraq. I thought of Don. This guy should be running around and tackling the life in front of him with all his limbs working. Unfortunately he sat in a wheelchair only able to move his head. But he got a wet suit on (it took a while). They put him in a crane hoist and lifted him over the water and gently lower him into that magical liquid environment. It took another two people helping out in the water to get his gear on – weights, tank, regulator, vest, fins, and mask. Then off he went.
He came alive without the confining bounds of the chair and gravity. He tucked his face in the water and with his two assistants started moving just like all of us divers. He had partial use of one arm and was paddling around the rocks and sandy areas like a champ. His body no longer a dead weight, he actually moved with some grace. You should have seen how happy and bright his eyes were as he swam along with the fish. You could feel his freedom and elation as he moved without pain or restriction. There was a huge crowd and they all watched the joy in the young man’s experience. He cried when they finished the dive and took him out of the water.
As I popped out of the water, able to carry all my equipment, showered, drove home and got ready for company and games last night I kept thinking about that young solider. We are so blessed in this life when we have our health and the ability to move and face head on the challenges that at times seem so overwhelming. For that solider, diving at the aquarium is just a taste of what we commonly touch everyday without thinking twice. It is good to stop on occasion to recognize how blessed we are and to say thanks.