When I’m at the gym I’m focused on becoming stronger and healthier. I must admit I become very self-centered. It’s “me time.”
On Saturday my usual routine is to head to the gym early in the morning for a session with Dan, trainer extraordinaire. I’ll be writing more about this in an upcoming post!
After working out with Dan I head to the pool to swim for an hour.
Well, every now and then something happens that draws me out of that self-centered time; something that humbles me so completely, leaving me utterly breathless.
At the gym? Really?
Oh yes, really.
You see the gym, like any place where you find people of all ages and backgrounds, is a microcosm of everyday life. Everyone has a story on how and why they’re there and what they hope to achieve.
Recently I was on a treadmill, winding down a session with Dan. I saw a man pushing a woman in a wheelchair. I noticed they headed toward the swimming pool, my next stop that morning.
Well, the pool was crowded; there wasn’t a full lane where I could swim so I started with water exercises and treading to warm up.
After a short time I was able to move into my favorite spot, the center lane.
I started my laps.
In the far corner of the pool were the man and the woman I’d seen previously.
I saw he was helping her exercise. I also saw how tenderly he treated her.
A few times she grimaced. One side of her body didn’t move very well; had she suffered a stroke?
He moved her arms through the water, gently voicing words of encouragement.
“There! You’re moving better! Don’t be afraid… I have you…can you move your arm this way? …remember what the therapist told you?”
I was overwhelmed by this man’s expression of love and care for his wife.
At one point they faced each other. He asked her if she could move her leg. They bobbed and moved as if they were slowly dancing.
I was privileged to witness this moment of enduring love.
After a time he brought his wife to the pool’s chair lift. He lowered the lift and gently secured her into the seat. Once out of the pool, he secured her in her wheelchair, dried her off, and placed a jacket around her shoulders.
When the gentleman finished caring for his wife he took a few minutes to replenish himself by swimming a few laps.
I paused to change my gear from a kickboard and fins to a leg floater. As I took off my fins I saw her watching her husband. Her face displayed the most incredible look of love and peace. In so many ways I felt like an intruder watching this moment where she clearly cherished her husband.
He swam for a short time then exited the pool. They left a few minutes later.
I thought of my own husband and how much he loves and cares for me and our daughter.
I’ve often been overwhelmed by his expressions of care. I considered how Al’s been there for me as I’ve worked my way through my own physical challenges.
I am so blest.
I learned so many lessons that day that it took me a few weeks to write this post. How would my words ever do justice to what I witnessed?
I’ve thought about this couple as I’ve headed to the pool on other days, hoping she is doing better, and so grateful to have witnessed their powerful expression of love that has endured through sickness and health.
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