It’s hot. The waves are rough. The sand is scalding. The kids are out of control.
And then, there’s Joe.
When we first meet Joe, he is emerging from the waves breaking in about six inches of water. At first it appears that Joe is goofing around, because as he leaves the water, he doesn’t get up from his position about a foot off of the sand. He motions with his hand and another man, a stranger, grabs it, thinking he must need assistance.
Joe, who we’ll later find out has cerebral palsy, doesn’t need any assistance: he’s just saying hello.
Watching Joe scoot on his backside, crawl on his hands and knees, and throw himself to the ocean floor (or the hard, packed sand) over and over again, I start to wonder how in the world this guy could be having fun? How in the world could someone care about him and leave him here to fend for himself?
And then Joe says, “Man, today is a great day! My family planned this trip to the beach just so I could be here. Isn’t it awesome out here?!”
And suddenly, everything changes. Expectations, perspectives, you name it.
It’s not poor Joe, struggling along, it’s thank God for Joe because I just saw the beach in a whole new way.
Joe doesn’t need our help; he’s here to say that a six-foot-four guy with cerebral palsy isn’t stopped by a life-debilitating disease. He’s not derailed by the effort it takes to make it down to the shore. He’s not hating life because of the cruel case of genetics. He’s not complaining about what he doesn’t have or what’s not going his way.
Joe is living it up, every moment.
Joe realizes that being at the beach is awesome and it’s a sandbox we should all enjoy playing in.
You’ll have to excuse me, I’ve got to stop writing and go splash around some more. Every day should be a day at the beach like this one.