“Hey John, you need one of those!”

If you know me or have followed my social media for more than this month, my love and joy in riding my bike is evident. I always relish the freedom my bike gives me, the effort of pushing my overly active muscles and the wonder of feeling my body accomplish this thing I ask it to, just in different ways than someone without CP.

There are (nearly) always comments when I ride, however and it is a complicated thing to grapple with…

My journey with biking has been a long one, one of watching, trying, longing, trying again and finally, arriving…Let me start somewhere near my beginning. I was born with cerebral palsy when my parents and sister lived in New Jersey. By God’s providence, I was born in 1 of the 2 parts of the US that had a neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) at that time. Had it not been so, I truly believe I would not have survived my early birth, breathing challenges and all the growth that had to occur outside of the womb instead of those 7 more weeks within. I know I keep writing, “that is another story for another post”, but in many ways, this is. In time, I hope to write more of my story. This format feels right to me for snippets, essays and in my mind, a focused reason behind each post. That story? Well, that one could be novel of its’ very own….

Suffice it to say for this moment, that I was extremely blessed to be born where I was in the world, if not when (7 weeks premature). With all the both and in the world, I KNOW God is in it, through it and in him, all the reasons hold together. (And, I can’t wait to curl up in a big cozy chair with the BEST cup of tea and hear the reasons when I get to heaven. I don’t really know if it will matter at that point, but I DO envision his hug to end end all hugs and my big sigh of relief at his telling and understanding of ALL that it has been.) See, that by itself could be a novel!

Even though I know God holds it all together does NOT mean that growing up with CP, making sense and facing my own challenges WITH IT are easy. In fact, CP has been and will continue to be, my greatest teacher of Both/And. It is the greatest “normalizer,” (if that is even a word?) I will ever know, of having so many feelings at the EXACT same time….

You see, I don’t think I knew or felt different than anyone in my youth. I think it just WAS for me. I pranced on my toes for years, because my hamstrings and heel chords were so tight that was all I could do. But very young, my dad worked with me a lot to find my own walk and I think once I did meet those “normal milestones” (a bit later than the average person,) I think I took off. And my particular diagnosis was “moderate.”

I don’t know the day that it changed for me, the reality of different, (and the shame that came with that particular realization), but I can tell you I remember moments and feelings in my body.

We lived out in the country when I was little, on a dirt road, right next door to a pig and blueberry farm. Our ranch home sat back far from the road, up a long driveway and just past the pond my parents had put in. It was “better than a swimming pool,” our place for splashing, catching tadpoles, playing on innertubes and for my brother, catching fish. One day we even looked out the front window and saw one of the massive pigs from next door, relaxing and resting in the shallow water! Her owner had to dangle one of her bleating babies while as he sat, legs swinging from the back of his pickup truck to get her get out of the soothing water and hot sun. Slowly the driver drove while the owner called to the pig, baby crying, until they disappeared in a cloud of dust up the drive to the house next door. It was a sight to behold…

I swam, ran, played in the woods with the neighborhood friends. Still, as I grew, I had difficulty keeping up with my younger brother and his friends playing capture the flag, and envious of my sister and the other neighbor kids who could take off down our winding driveway in the woods on their bikes. I saw speed, freedom and fun as they hopped on effortlessly, yelled to one another and gathered speed. I think my mind compared it to flying!

I begged my dad to teach me. Begged! And bless him. We tried, and tried and tried. I would fall, cry, become afraid and then eventually try again. But I think after awhile, we both knew that this was one of those things impacted by CP that I or he could not will away. I was crushed and I think for the first time in my life, realized I was disabled and had some limitations.

That sting did not disappear. In fact, I think it festered. I had many surgeries, changing my bone structure so that I had the best possible outcome for mobility with my particular range of CP. It is SO different for each one of us, with similarities perhaps, but each case, (1 in 350 people) looks different than another.

I dreamed of MOVING this body – whether is was ice skating on our pond, swimming, running, later roller blading and yes, still biking. I felt both trapped within a body that felt chained and was so hard to explain and I felt “bad for not having CP worse,” as though I should only be thankful that I could walk, talk and function as well as I could, almost like survivor’s guilt only “moderate CP guilt.”

A few days before Christmas, mid-seventh grade, my parents rented one of my favorite movies from Blockbuster (Savanah Smiles.) I loved movies and this particular one was one I had loved going to see with my Gram in the theaters. I disappeared to our basement to watch it and was in my own little heaven. Suddenly, I heard my parents calling me upstairs. I was ornery to tell the truth. I climbed the stairs and then realized they were calling from outside in December. I am certain I became a bit more than ornery, but went anyway. As I opened the front door, I could not believe my eyes. Sitting on our porch was an bright blue, oversized tricycle with a big white basket in the back!

You might be thinking, really, in 7th grade? And I hear you… I don’t think it occurred to me to be embarrassed about a trike. I think the freedom (and flying) was first and foremost in my mind. I will never forget that beautiful thoughtful gift from my mom and dad, or the forethought they had about adaptation. My parents even got permission for me to ride that bike in the school hallways of my Jr. High that winter. Only once was I going so fast that I hit a corner and got my beautiful bike on two wheels and almost tipped. I learned that lesson, quick!

I rode that bike until I began to drive, literally FLYING. When we moved to Holland and our house was a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan, I was there nearly every day in the summer. It was joyous. But as I hit about 11th grade, someone yelled, “why you riding your grandma’s bike?” and it was like hitting a brick wall. Shame and pain took the joy right out of the bike and I retreated. I gave the excuses of driving, but I knew it was the mean comment in the middle of heavy beach traffic.

Years later, in my 20’s, my roommate’s parents came for a visit from across the state. They’d discovered “banana bikes” for rent by the beach. Jo (roommate) and Don(her dad) got talking about my challenges with bike riding, Holland’s beautiful bike paths and “how to get Stacy on a bike!” Don ended up finding one for sale and driving to get it for me. Again, the most meaningful gift! I am forever grateful. It sat low and had 3 wheels (almost resembling a Hot Wheels, remember those?) with a banana yellow mesh seat. I rode it for the next few years until it’s wheels almost fell off.

Then a few years into marriage, my husband and I wandered into a nearby bike store. There, gleaming in the window, was a long Sunseeker recumbent bike, fancy and new. I had never heard of such a thing! We talked for a long time about it and again, the truth? It was WAY out of our price range…and my husband got it for our anniversary anyway. It was a gift of being seen and heard, after hearing my longing about bikes for YEARS. He even outfitted it to pull a Burley when we had our daughter, then our son.

And, if I am honest AGAIN, I became complacent. It was a lot to get the kids tucked in the Burley, wiggle their helmets on, get the bike hooked up and THEN go for a ride… I was a young working mom and it was a lot to get up and go. It is amazing to me as I look back, how the desire for something was so big to me and then, once I had the means to go, it was easy to push it away “til tomorrow, then tomorrow and many after that,” because I was tired or it was too much effort.

Fast forward a few more years. My son began working at a local bike shop, learning from the best how bikes function, what is most helpful for each of us, in a unique situation. We strolled in and found a shorter, zippier recumbent and I was instantly smitten. That bike took us all on a journey of discovery, growth, health and connection in so many ways. I had a goal of riding 365 days the next year – the rides we all took! It was, FREEDOM personified. There is so much more to say, feel free to ask or comment! I love to talk bikes and adaptation…

As great of a start it provided, I quickly craved more power than my zippy blue bike was able to provide.

I’ve now upgraded twice, first to a Fat Tad (a present for my birthday, a shiny red recumbent with fat tires and more attitude!)

This past spring, after some wise conversations about the mechanics of my rides, I upgraded again, to a Fat Tad with pedal assistance. This provides a more consistent pace, the ability to cross streets, ride rough terrain and increase the effectiveness of my workouts. Each upgrade has provided a new truth in my heart: I AM able, capable and AN ATHLETE.

And…I at times have experienced some downright mean or nasty statements while biking.

It is not uncommon on the ride to hear, “Hey, honey, that’s the bike we need to get for your mom!” or “You better get some lights on there if you want to stay alive!” There are other variations of the same theme.

Last week, as I excited Windmill Island, a man was walking in, saw me and yelled a few cars down, ” Hey John, you need one of those!” He had slowed down, staring a bit at both me and my bike.

I slowed, knowing I was now the object of “show and tell.” This happens often and typically, I try SO hard to see these interactions as a chance to educate about CP, how someone could feel in this situation. Truly, I do…and sometimes I am just too tired to educate and listen.

I rolled near John, who walked slowly over to me, as quick as his body would let him and began looking my bike over. I’ve heard it said that for those who use wheelchairs, the chair actually feels like an extension of their personhood and it is very invasive when someone is the bubble of the chair AND the person. I can relate! My bike represents my personhood and freedom.

Person A proceeded to discuss how this would be a perfect bike for John and the assumptions ensued. I need to pause and explain my emotional response…typically, my husband will say, that I become defensive related to people responding with, “that looks like fun,” or the ever-present insinuation that an elderly person would have a much easier time on a recumbent like mine than on a standard two wheel bike. Occasionally, my husband will whisper something irreverent under his breath at the third (or seventeenth) comment, just to shock and humor me.

The truth is, my bike is magic, incredibly life-giving AND is damn hard work. All your momentum must come from your legs and core, without the leverage to stand up on the hills. It is not, a quick and easy ride. It would be very, difficult for anyone to just “hop on and have fun!”

I think my “frustration” in those moments, is that I want to be truthful and advocating and I never l want to assume about anyone’s experience. My experience with my bike has been interesting in terms of commentary and assumption. From, “you look very awkward riding that bike,” to “that looks like so much fun,” to “that is so badass,” to “oh, look at you, laying down on the job!” there are so many reactions. The generous assumption is that most people don’t intend to be insulting – most! Some do… and…the comments can be. I absolutely experience both.

How often do we experience that in other parts of life, that someone comments and our filter responds before our head and heart remind us to “assume the best about people around us?” It is SO hard to do….so hard. One of my favorite anonymous quotes says, “be kind for everyone is fighting some kind of battle.” I pray that today, you encounter kindness from yourself and from others. I pray that we can approach one another with the generous assumption that we are ALL trying our very best. And I pray that you experience freedom, awe and wonder in a way that only can be described as the presence of the Holy Spirt: sailing on a boat, swaying in a hammock hammock, sitting near the water, a hard run, riding horseback or like me, in a way that is different than others, but is your own passion and joy. I will be on my bike, because God is good to me….


We are, in our family of 5, spinning lately between our kids spring sports and events, church events, commitments to friends and family. These are all things we love, and the pace has just amped up! There is a metronome in the back of my mind, slowly ticking as we edge toward summer. But not just, “another summer,” but the last summer before my daughter graduates from high school… (Can you hear the excitement, overwhelm and perhaps a little shock in these words of mine?)

I’ve also been thinking about the many facets of family, even as I try to keep up with our schedule: in my counseling practice, the lives of friends and our family, as our daughter stands on the brink of college decisions and all that lies ahead.

During counseling sessions throughout the week, I can safely say that some of the struggles of family show up in some way, each and every session: beautiful, haunting, wounded, and abusive; broken, connected, healthy and hopeful. The constellations of family have changed in a multitude of amazing ways over the course of my career, and yet, the themes seem to remain the same: the hope to belong, be accepted and loved unconditionally. And truly, wanting our families to provide these values to each other in ALL the ways.

As we grow, I believe we also all have the hope and desire to provide these same values to families of our own. Some may call me idealistic, but my experience and my belief in the inherent good that God created us with, says that every parent WANTS DESPERATELY to provide to and receive love from every child ever born. And sadly, it is not always there or possible in some family situations….

If we turn on the news, drive down the road, scroll through social media, listen to kids after school, overhear conversation at work or perhaps all of the above, we know there is an excruciating amount of pain in families around the world at this very moment. Whether it is financial hardship, emotional instability, food insecurity, physical or sexual abuse or a myriad of other reasons, individuals ARE struggling, hurting, while also yearning for love and acceptance. While those may be some of the extremes, there are layers of pain, levels of longing for all of us, for connection with family.

Not only do I hear from the brave clients who tell me, but I can also tell from the increasing numbers of individuals searching for meaning, for the moments of connection and even perfection in families of our own….

I am an AVID Disney fan, have loved Mickey since our first family trip many, many years ago. A few years ago, my husband and I were ready to take our kids to the “happiest place on earth.” This was the very first trip for us and our babes, then 8, 6 and 3. Enough people had warned us to not “buy into the hype,” so we tried to lower our expectations. We knew there would be tantrums, possible tears instead of delight upon seeing Mickey and Minnie, sore feet and tired legs, arguments about souvenirs and much more. We hoped for beautiful memories, moments of pure delight and family fun. There were absolutely all of this and then some on that first trip. Unforgettable memories, even the hard ones.

A particular memory wasn’t really even about our family, but has stuck with me for many reasons. One morning as we hurried to get a spot for our son in the “Jedi Training Academy.” We hadn’t gotten up before dawn, (suggested if we REALLY wanted a spot for him,) but we did go to The Star Wars part of the park, first thing. We asked the cast member standing near us and were told the “Academy was full.” We explained this to our son, who was disappointed, but still happy to be at Disney. Just then, we heard a dad behind us screaming at the cast member we had just talked to. He yelled and belittled, “you are going to ruin the trip for our son, the trip that we saved for over a year to make happen!”

My husband leaned over, shaking his head and whispered in my ear, “the happiest place on earth…” The irony was glaring as we stood among parents and kids. I felt simultaneously so sad and tremendous pity for both the cast member, the family involved and anger at the way this dad had acted. The thought struck me even then, how families were banking on these experiences to find that elusive “family joy,” for themselves and their kids.

It is a billion dollar per year industry that Disney has mastered. The costs are currently rising and analysts continue to discuss how “it doesn’t really change because people continue to pay for it.” Why? Because the Disney Imagineers and marketing division tap flawlessly into that root of hope in all of us: the desire for connection, memories, joy and family.

There are more than Disney, however, who know that pathway. It is written on literal signs in many gift shops, quotes about family, wall art and jewelry; Hallmark movies with plot-lines of love, family and the proverbial happy ending. I AM NOT criticizing ANY of those, not even a little. I have simply talked with many people about the the many ways humans cope with the longing we all feel to have meaningful connection with family.

I am finding myself wrestling with that very connection while engaging in this next stage with our daughter. I know her drivers’ license says she is nearly an adult in the last days of her junior year in high school. But when I look at her, I sometimes remember her childhood before I see her as an adult. We go on college visits, have many discussions about her future. And my mama heart is at the same time squeezed with pain that we’ve somehow arrived HERE, where she goes forward without me in her day to day. AND, I am so very proud and excited for and WITH her. BOTH. AND…I want desperately to support, stand beside her in her next chapter, and, I want to hold her tight and never let go. We have spent years, protecting, knowing, caring, teaching, giving, crying and loving our kids completely then, in a blink, we are faced with finding a way to release them…

It is both foreign to me and if I am honest, a bit unfathomable, and, it is also healthy, normal and right. I know both inside my mind and my heart, truly. I am just really not sure HOW to do it, for her or me….I also know it will all unfold as it should, somehow…

These are the truths about family that I’ve been pondering in these both/and days…

I am grieving with you if you have been abused or hurt in any way. Please don’t hesitate to seek help, find support and love for yourself. Your life, efforts and pain are not invisible to the God of Heaven. I cannot explain or even understand the life experiences on this Earth. There is so much I want to talk with my Jesus about, in his time. But in the meantime, I can only offer hope and the belief that everyone is important and deserving of love, connection and adoration. I pray that you are able to keep believing, trying and hoping.

Brene Brown writes, “We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggles and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.”

However family is for you, I pray you are connected and brave in the beautiful and the hard, this side of Eden. I pray for the courage and authenticity, to grieve and cry with one another, to be real and seen, enjoy laughter and hope. I pray we can establish boundaries as needed, trust ourselves in the joy and the pain, and I pray that as life continues to change, in phases and seasons, that we can love like Jesus. I have hope in being real and calling out perfectionism (kindly) within ourselves. And I don’t want to miss a moment of all of it, the moments when I or they are at the end of ourselves, unable to use words, or the moments that feel almost perfect and nearly every moment in between. In the loving always and the letting go, the searching and the finding, without a doubt, God seeks, holds and calls you his own. He is love, light, belonging and so much hope. Family…the one we all seek and the one we need. 


Psalm 13

Two golf carts…two very different experiences.

(For my EGM)

Spending time with my darling daughter is like getting my cup filled up over and over when it has been significantly hard to find a drink for weeks. 

One of our favorite activities together is to go to local craft fairs. We love the creative endeavors, finding so many ideas for her endlessly crafty brain and for me, just absorbing every word she says. We talk, shop, laugh, see things that catch our eyes or give meaning to us both. We notice, connect and sometimes are moved deeply just in our wanderings. 

It is a daunting and humbling thing to be a mama of one who is on the cusp of spreading her own wings… she is closer to adulthood than she isn’t, she is becoming so much of her own and it is all too easy to wonder if I have done enough, taught her enough, parented well enough or many other “have I enough‘s.” 

I have done so much of my work over the course of her life, both intentionally and unintentionally. When you’re a therapist it’s always a good practice to continue to stay in touch with a therapist of your own. More often, there are conversations about parenting wrapped up in conversations about how I provide therapy, my fears and growth; the regular ebb and flow of doing my emotional and spiritual work. But even with the knowledge that I have done and will continue to do my own work as she grows, it is still alarmingly easy to fall back into those, “ I wonders.”

I’m completely amazed that my girl’s love language is quality time with me. I am beyond blessed in the relationship I have with her, but today I am simply humbled in the fact that who she is becoming is more and more like Jesus.

Upon arriving at the craft show, she rolled down her window and asked where the handicapped accessible parking lot was. We were instructed to go a different direction than the designated lot because it was full. She deftly drove and parked which by itself is still unbelievable to me. I swear she’s a three-year-old behind the wheel of a car. 

As always, she came around the side of the car to hold my hand while we walk. I don’t always need that, but I’ll tell you it’s the most comforting thing, her holding my hand; especially when the ground is uneven, there is changing terrain or pavement. She regularly tells me that she WANTS to hold my hand; it’s not a necessity but at this point in my life, I actually believe her. 

We walk, my hand tucked through her elbow and my heart is light. I’m comfortable in my own skin, which she IS watching. We are giggling a bit and I can sense a motorized vehicle behind me, slowing down. I look to my left and assume that a nice staff member has seen us and is going to offer us a ride to the front of the craft show in his golf cart. Instead, a gentleman in a STAFF shirt rather gruffly leans over to us and says “Ladies, that is not where customers are supposed to park. I can see you’re kind of slow so it’s OK, but normally you need to park in a different area.” 

I blink, my heart racing. He had just summed up my identity in a snap judgement. He didn’t say “I can see you walking slow,” but that I WAS SLOW. …my brain had often filled in the rest- that slow was bad, that I WAS BAD. Years of experience, disdainful looks, pity and assumptions had wrongly confirmed it. That same feeling coursed through my muscles, making them all fire.

I can feel my daughter’s body also tense beside me… and before I can respond, she is the one saying, “when we pulled in, we asked the parking attendant where to park and she directed us over here because the handicapped lot was full.” Defending our parking spot AND her mama.  

“We’ll, I don’t know about that. I mean, I would beat you in a race but next time park in the other spot.” He drove off and I stood there holding onto her, dumbfounded. 

In my lifetime I have often been confronted with people’s ignorance and lack of awareness but it really never gets easier. Your skin gets harder, you learn some quick comebacks, but the affects still hurt every time.  This particular time completely caught me off guard. 

Before we go one step further, I have heard so many times, “who cares what he thinks,” and it is right- who DOES care?

WE ALL DO. We ALL CARE more about the insults and criticism than we’re able to accept affirmation and love. If we’re honest…

Emotional work does pay off. I took a few deep breaths, was as kind to my reacting muscles as I could possibly be and attempted to find pity for golf-cart man.

Daughter handled her frustration and own anxiety by reassuring me. “We can leave if you want.” She whispered, hugging me. Trying to swallow around the lump in my throat and a few tears caught in my ducts, I needed another second to breathe.  In my adult self, but not my previously bullied kid self, he had called out my biggest insecurity and insulted me when I least expected it.

I reassured her I would be OK; I just wasn’t quite yet. There would’ve been piles of shame in the past and believe me, that voice was whispering, but a bigger yell was happening inside me, that this was unjust, and so very sad that someone would not only think this way but say it out loud to another person in the year 2022. 

I hugged her and reminded her it wasn’t her job to take care of me, but thank you. It meant the world, her love. I didn’t even reprimand her when she ever-so-subtly shook her middle finger at his back.

“Oh Kevin, thank you so much for all the help, you are so kind.” We were collecting ourselves and heard “golf-cart man” being praised by another customer. A bit of insult to injury.

We walked on and had a really good time looking in the craft show. Rich fall colors, scents from candles and food trucks, eye-catching artwork and sparkling jewelry.  Though we were initially subdued, we began to shake the interaction off and return to “us.”  Conversation included processing how “golf-cart man” and his comments felt for both of us, how others might feel and what would lead someone to say something so blatant and rude. We talked about her first few days of school, her favorite social media accounts and her upcoming year.  We vacillated between the sad, mad, silly and fun. And a few swear words. 

We bought sweet treasures for friends, a few keepsakes of our own and gorged ourselves on iced tea and strawberry shortcake mini donuts from a fantastic food truck. I loved listening to her dreaming her dreams, future plans, the inspiration she found for crafts she wanted to make and how God holds her future in his hands. I cherished her hold on my arm and every once in a while whispering, “I’m sorry he was such a jerk, Mama.“

We left and before I knew it, she was again rolling her window down and trying to explain to event organizers what had happened and caring for her mama. The best part was watching her use her voice and standing up for what she believed in. (Passionately calling golf-cart man an asshole.) I was just the lucky recipient of her strength. Even though this man’s words hurt us both, we hurt for others who he might speak to in the same way and honestly, we were just plain pissed off. 

But I also experienced the beauty and the pride of my daughter’s awareness, her choices to use her voice, her heart and knowing that SHE changes the world for good. She loves like Jesus; she has a heart like Jesus and I am in awe of her trust – in both herself and her Savior.

I don’t know that I will ever feel confident that I have done right by her completely. Honesty again? Every parent this side of heaven wonders, I think. But today in the middle of some glaring ignorance I know that I am enough, I have enough and God is more than enough to take care of all of HER needs as well. Amazing how a craft show can give you things so good (and some hard) that has nothing to with crafts.

As the day ended, we came across a vendor who created lovely jewelry as part of a fundraiser for people in Haiti. Ella bought a Haitian coin with the words “Grace Wins “and me, a bracelet with the words ‘rise.”

Messages and reminders for today and those to come.  

Six months AFTER that day with Kevin, (golf cart man) I still think about that event sometimes….

I attend countless events for our kids and my brain is ultra-aware of people around me.

I have become accustomed to looks or experiences when I must advocate or explain my disability to others to get the help I need. I also am surrounded by lots of friends, family and our “swim family,” (the other parents we sit and cheer with, week after week, sport after sport,) who are spot on: reaching for my hand, helping me down the steps, bleachers, or many other situations. I am profoundly grateful.

As often as there is someone who is hurtful or unaware, there are many more in my corner….

Last Thursday was one of those days….

My love and I traveled about an hour to our son’s away baseball game, as usual. It had been a long week, my muscles still a bit off following lots of temperature changes, long days with clients (sitting too much) and many days in a row of events for the kids. No complaints, just this season we are in.

My husband parked the car and we could not even really see the baseball field clearly. It was and felt so far away, especially with my current state of mobility.

I could feel my heart begin to race, thinking about walking out that far. Still, there wasn’t really another option. I got out of the car, begin to pull my coat on as the chill was already in the air.

Just then, a man drove a bit past our parked car in a John Deere Gator. The very fleeting thought was, “oh, man, I wish we could hop a ride!”

Still, I continued pulling myself together to both walk a long way AND sit outside in the cold for a long baseball game.

I looked over again, sensing that the man on the Gator was still there…

“Hi there, would you like a ride? You’ll have to sit in the back…” He looked from me to my husband.

I blinked and my husband quickly answered, “I don’t mind sitting in the back, thank you!” We tried to grab our stuff quickly and though my muscles fired from being on the spot, I climbed up in the seat next to him. He had leather looking skin from years in the sun, a deep gravelly voice and the smell of cigarette smoke clung to him like a cloud. And…his kindness meant the world as he accelerated across the grass, gravel and field toward the immaculate high school baseball diamond.

 I asked his name, (Terry) and he explained that he worked at this particular school taking care of the various sport venues. I praised his efforts, thanked him again and had a lump in my throat as he pulled the Gator to a stop at the ball diamond where my son’s team and the home team were already beginning play. He could not have known how helpful he was, what it meant to me or how grateful I was.

As we sat watching the game in a truly stunning stadium, I felt the very love of God in Terry’s kind gesture. And as the game went on, I could also feel my anxiety building as I thought to getting back to our car. I tried hard to push my worry to the back of my head, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t nag at me as the game wore on.

Suddenly, the game was over and my husband and I again began packing our chairs, gathering our belongings. I was resigned to walking back, made a wise crack to my husband about getting back to the car at midnight to ease my own anxiety.

Another baseball parent we know well came and hugged us, then looked over.

“Stace, I think your chauffeur is here, looking for you.” We followed her eyes and there was Terry, pointing right at me.

My heart pounded for just a second at being cared for and seen. The negative stuff happens often enough that you just don’t expect THIS kind of kindness.

We quickly made our way to Terry and he smiled at me as he revved up the Gator. “Well, I was watching the game and I kind of kept track of you so that I could give you a ride back.” I swear, I could have shed tears…

”My wife has some issues with her knees, so I like to help whenever I can.” He told me as he pulled up by our vehicle. I was still a bit blown away. I thanked him again and in reality, might’ve hugged him if I thought I could get away with it. I didn’t, but instead climbed into our car with a ridiculous amount of gratitude and a sense of God’s timing and presence.

No disrespect to our kids’ team, but Terry and his kindness have been a big topic of discussion throughout the weekend. It was my husband who said, “crazy, huh? Two guys, two golf carts.”

These words hung with my heart, a lot of the weekend…both Kevin AND Terry.

It wasn’t lost on me that Terry’s giving attitude changed the sting of Kevin’s behavior as I thought about that event again, many months later…

Terry, if you happen to come across this, thank you for showing me Jesus in a person, driving a Gator. Please don’t stop helping, because it is so important. I loved that ride for a lot of reasons and your ball diamond is STUNNING. Your ball diamond and your heart….

 In a world where we all have the choice to be “Kevin or Terry,” may we all be like Terry…and say a few prayers for the Kevins. We all have that capacity, don’t we?

Thank goodness for grace, mercy and people like my girl and Terry. I am grateful to both.

“Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”  Plato


Psalm 13