I lifted up Elliana and plopped her into the baby swing. It was an ordinary Tuesday evening. We were at the ball fields waiting for Elijah’s game to start, and children and parents swarmed the grassy areas. I was trying to distract Elliana from the thought of concession stand snow cones and ring pops (a.k.a. red dye 40 and high fructose corn syrup) when I noticed a boy sitting three swings down. He was about 12 years-old. I made eye-contact with him and smiled. He smiled back.
The boy had Down Syndrome.
He was listening to his I-Pod while he swung (swang? swinged?). Looking down intently, he scrolled through songs and made the necessary adjustments. And then, satisfied with his selection, a smile crept across his face. With all the passion he could muster, he started belting out the lyrics to a popular song…
I can almost see it
That dream I’m dreaming but
There’s a voice inside my head sayin,
You’ll never reach it,
Every step I’m taking,
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking but I
Got to keep trying
Got to keep my head held high
I couldn’t help but giggle at the mini acapella concert I and the other children were about to witness. I looked around to see if anyone else noticed or cared. I wondered if the other children would begin to make fun of him. But they didn’t. Everyone just kept playing and swinging and talking. And the boy kept on singing.
There’s always going to be another mountain
I’m always going to want to make it move
Always going to be an uphill battle,
Sometimes I’m gonna to have to lose,
Ain’t about how fast I get there,
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb
He was just doing his thing. Oblivious to anyone around him, he sang from the depths of his heart as he tilted his head back and pumped his legs in perfect sync with the beat of the song. Most of the time, he sang only a single note, but in his mind, he was singing complicated runs and beautiful harmonies.
The struggles I’m facing,
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down but
No I’m not breaking
I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I’m going to remember most
This sweet child mesmerized me. The joy on his face and conviction in his voice inspired me.The words pouring out of his mouth were so meaningful. I want to sing like that. I want to BE like that. I want to be the kind of person who boldly faces my limitations with courage and confidence. I want to be the kind of person who sparks joy by just doing my thing. I want to be the kind of person who gathers with my peers and accidentally inspires them with my liberty.
For the next two weeks, I’ll be guest posting for my dear friend Julie at His Love Extended, while Julie is in Kiev on a mission trip. Come over and say hello!