This weekend each year the Special Olympics come to town. It's a big deal around here. Rain Shine or Snow the Police from around the state make this week long run (literally) into town. As they approach the sporting arena all the athletes join and the local fire engines etc all form a GIANT parade into the arena. The smiles can be seen and felt from miles away! Even if you aren't attending you can hear the sirens and know the happenings. Grown adults give a knowing smile as they are overwhelmed with sincerity and gratefulness of the special abilities each of their children have.
A half mile from my house there is an Ice Cream shop. (I'd tell you the name but whoever visits this site from Budapest, Malaysia, Hungary & Rhode Island may google it and then find my house on google earth or google street and that stuff just FREAKS ME OUT!) Any way... Local Yokels like myself, often find it an excuse to not cook dinner... "We'll just go and have an Ice Cream". But this time of year, visitors to Maine, if even in the vicinity will venture over to this out of the way place in order to stand in line at an otherwise small, local convienence store, in order to get their special fix of Maine Ice Cream. All the time. Beautiful days like today will find a line down the street and one person serving. (I've rarely ever seen anyone get testy about the wait either...)
Today, I stopped on my way home to pick up something (not Ice cream). As I waited down the counter for the clerk to serve the line of Ice Cream folks, the ones being served was a "older couple"(I'm guessing in their 70's) and a young man, ever so patiently waiting for his Chocolate Ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. His eyes were buggin out of his head he was so happy!
He was still wearing his Athlete's bib with his competitor number emblazoned on it and around his neck I noticed his 2 ribbons. He must have seen me looking at his ribbons. He held on to them and raised them high for me to see, with a big peaceful happy unabashed smile.
I had no words that could respond. His face of course was instantly contagious and the smile infected my entire body and instantly felt lighter on my feet.
That was all I could do in purposeful response. A big "good for you" thumbs up. Even though he had to apply some effort, he responded back with another big thumbs up.
I'm overcome with peace, joy & gratitude that words simply can not convey. (Actually, I felt that before meeting this young man- this just felt like another gift!) Re- reading this it all sounds so trivial in comparison to the actual experience.
It is days and moments like this when I wonder, "is this the face of God".