We just got back from a week in paradise. Just the three of us in a little house a three minute walk from my favorite beach. We ate seafood, took long walks, read books, and generally did as little as possible. It was wonderful.
It took a day or two before I noticed something strange going on.
On our walks, out at restaurants, everywhere we went, people were genuinely happy to see Collin.
He got waves, broad smiles, peace signs. People insisted that he move to the front of the line. Employees reserved choice tables for him. People brought their dogs up for him to pet. Kyle and I got free dessert from a server and free breakfast from a stranger and we were under no illusion that those gifts had anything to do with us.
It was like walking around with a famous person. One night, a man riding by on a bike pointed at Collin in his beach wheelchair, grinned like it was the best thing that had happened to him in a long time, and waved and waved and waved as he pedaled away. I actually looked around to see if I was missing something.
I'm still not sure what was going on. Part of it is probably that people feel more generous and open on vacation. Part of it is also that I didn't realize I had gotten so used to stares, pity smiles, and awkward avoidance, making this treatment even more impacting. But even those two things together couldn't account for what we encountered last week.
Regardless, I'm taking it as a gift. As a tangible experience of grace. I'm treasuring this gorgeous picture of inclusion and acceptance, knowing that I will pull it out on the hard days to remember what can be.