challenges...we all face them.
in one form or another.
in one season of life or another.
but some challenges don't merely appear at one point and disappear at another.
some challenges are with us at birth, from the first beating of our hearts.
some challenges stay with us, 'til death do they try to tear us apart.
some challenges are just a part of who we are, the rocks in the road that cause us to stumble from the start.
the tangled knots in the fabric of our existence.
the stark realities that strive to impale our innocence.
the 'dis-eases' that prove immune to our resistance.
the 'cancers' with no answers.
the death with whom we can only become 'dancers'.
all the members of my rolling little community of bus 132 face challenges, day in and day out. challenges about which few, if any, of us know much of anything.
but as i greet them each day, and observe them with what's left of my peripheral vision, and listen to them with what's left of my ability to hear faint decibels from the back of a rumbling bus, and wish them well as they depart, i am more and more amazed by the simple eloquence and gentle power they exhibit in their daily struggles living life with special needs.
there are three boys i pick up at the end of my route to take home each day whom i refer to as 'the three amigos'. (no, i have NOT taught them the 'salute' ;)
one of them (who i'll call Joshua) always bounds onto the bus dressed in some combination of camouflage attire, with a neatly trimmed crew cut and a wide, warm smile on his face.
Joshua's life is full of challenges...neurologically, emotionally, educationally, socio-economically, relationally.
no wonder he dresses for life like he's going into battle.
because for Joshua, life IS a battle.
and YET...from the first day i met him, he has always greeted me as a great big bundle of energy with that great big smile.
on that first day, as i was about to introduce myself to him, i instinctively reached out my hand to shake his.
but rather than shake my hand, he swung his arm around towards me and slapped my hand in a thunderous high five.
that has been our mutual greeting every day since.
and it MAKES my day. EVERY day.
because i realize...
that smiles aren't just gestures of generosity and joy, but gateways to radiant glory and grace.
that high fives aren't merely an expression of exuberance and exhilaration, but a confluence of celebration AND connection.
because i remember...
that we aren't ultimately defined as human beings by our challenges, but rather, by how we choose to respond to them.
because i figure...
if someone like Joshua can face his challenges and fight his battles by flashing million-watt smiles and slapping resounding high fives...
why can't i?
'super friends' do them...
...and super fools...
...and super funny fools ;)