Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 1o People in my Neighborhood

10. the mustachioed traffic director at Reid's school

9. Laura who works Sunday mornings at Panera

8. Kaye at the library who has authority to waive fines

7. Alex at Henry's Marketplace whose "got my back"

6. Debbie with the "oy i'm late" license plates who waves vigorously

5. you-know-the-stockboy at Trader Joe's

4. a greenskeeper for our association

3. Larry, the greeter on our church patio

2. another mustachioed carpool line attendant at Allie's school

1. Jona at the Solana Beach Rubio's

I have friends--some really good friends--but I don't necessarily see them on a daily basis. This list of more anonymous types are people who, in truth, I barely know. Yet they brighten my day immensely with their undeniable joie de vivre. As you can see, I don't even know some of their names. They are familiar faces though, "people in my neighborhood" who like Mary Tyler Moore, "can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile." Each of them hasmade my day more times than I can count with a simple wave, a significant smile, or a gutsy greeting.

It doesn't take much. I am sure the greenskeeper waves to many residents as they pass by but boy oh boy when he puts that spade down to wave to me through the car window, well...I feel like his favorite!

Although we've only exchanged a dozen words ever, "Oy I'm Late" (the plate on her maroon van) flags me down in the "2 BY 2" (my Eurovan plate) as if I were driving on the rims or my engine was aflame. By the time I realize she's just waving hello, I feel like the president in a motorcade. Whether I bump into her in the produce aisle or a swim lane, she never fails to ask about Reid by name. She doesn't know our last name, wouldn't imagine that I blog, but she cares and she seems to get the gestalt of us. We are a piece in her puzzle, and she sees the big picture.

Likewise, the clerk at our nearest Panera has our Sunday morning goodies practically bagged and ready before we get to the counter. She is a bright spot of familiarity and belonging in our week, always asking, "how was church?"

Reid is a definite vehicle for this kind of VIP treatment since we call his name outloud in public places more than the norm. It seems we are repeatedly prompting him back to wait in line, away from the sneezeguard, or over to place his order. Before you know it, we've attained infamy at many local haunts. His ritualistic ordering of the same thing every week also aids her memory. Just the same, she has a gift of hospitality and uses it liberally to love on us, if only for the short exchange.

I could go on about each one (and may in future posts). For now, let's just ask each other, whose day can we make?

The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Galatians 5:13-15

"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man?"
Luke 10:35-37

Monday, September 13, 2010

Heroes and Miracles

Sitting in the stands spectating at a Miracle League baseball game Saturday morning , Allie and I took a deep breath. Having just handed Reid off to his 1:1 buddy, we knew we'd have 2 innings of relatively uninterrupted talk time. (Quality time comes in various zones.)

At a whisper she confided, "guess what that lady just said to me?"

"Is that your brother out there? Then you are a real hero."

To which she politely replied and wisely corrected, "the real heroes are the ones who sign up and show up every week to make this possible. They choose to be here. We have to do it!"

True. The miracle of this local phenomenon is the dedication, enthusiasm, and sheer volume of volunteers who create a slice of heaven on earth.

Every Saturday 12 teams of special needs kids aged 5-18 of all abilities come bedecked in uniforms ready to play ball with whatever modifications they need. An amazing announcer, Alan Moore, treats each one as an MVP coming up to bat replete with nicknames and stats from the previous season. Whether they bat from a wheelchair, standing or hand over hand, every one has a buddy and everyone gets a hit.

Reid's first time at bat, he connected with a solid hit which Mr. Moore proclaimed "a home run!" With requisite prompting, Reid ran all four bases and enjoyed the applause from the stands. Well, can I tell you, every single time since, he rounds that diamond at full tilt in a beeline back to his seat in the dugout. Whether he's fouled, bunted or slugged it, the precedent has been set. Hit = homerun in his locked tight mind. One time he passed a couple other runners in the process. No worries, no tantrums; every game ends in a tie.

Coaches range from off-duty therapists to high school age siblings. The one on one buddies come out of the woodwork of the community at large to don a flourescent t-shirt and help. Every week I see another familiar face and ask how they learned about it. Parents cheer from the stands or visit like comrades in arms; brothers and sisters are proud; players grin ear to ear.

For that one hour a week, I feel like everything is really going to turn out fine. It is miraculous!

You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. Psalm 77:13-15

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Matthew 25:39-41