My daughter and I are at Seattle Center on the bright kind of fall day that makes colors pop, where the air feels soft and people are quiet as the rustling leaves.
After we stroll around the fountain, through the garden, past the Chihuly exhibit and along the Pavilion, we’re stopped by the sound of bagpipes.
“Oh,” my daughter informs me, (besides everything else that’s going on including the reason she’s here–a Lego Convention with her hubby) “there’s a buddy walk.”
“What’s a buddy walk?”
“Well, look at that train of people.”
Behind the piper is a multi-colored parade of people all ages and abilities, walking quietly, holding signs, pushing strollers, all trailing peacefully along, a grown up game of Follow the Leader.
I notice a woman in a bright orange “Be a Buddy” t-shirt taking a photo with her iPhone.
My daughter and I walk over and I start up a conversation, standing just next to her.
“So, what’s this all about?”
“Well, it’s a statewide event to raise awareness and acceptance for people with Down Syndrome.”
I see moms and dads holding the hands of young children with Down’s. Some grown ups push families and friends in wheelchairs. Other paraders mosey along in motorized chairs.
I ask the woman why she’s here and she tells me she’s a teacher from the other side of the mountains in Washington. She works in a high school.
“My students are very involved–some of them are even in Key Club.”
I tell her I’ve worked with children in Special Education for the last few years.
“This is a wonderful occasion.
“How great to see this kind of support from family and friends for people with disabilities.”
She tells me a little bit more about opportunities to serve, the Special Olympics coming up in the Summer, other events.
I smile at the signs, the joy on peoples’ faces.
Everyone looks so sure of themselves, so confident of where they’re going.
Leah and I stand at the edge of the path as observers. I continue to make sideways small talk, arms folded across my chest, and turn to bid farewell.
“Nice to meet you,” the teacher says.
“Thanks for stopping by.”
As we walk away, I thank my daughter for pointing me in the direction of the walk.
The power of all those people going in one direction……..sure of their destination. It really moved me.
I pondered this as we traced the other walkways, stopping here and there to chat, on a bench or in the sun on the grass.
Daughter Leah, International Fountain Seattle Ctr.
The people we saw were walking through territory they felt belonged to them, claiming it just by moving forward. They were also pounding the pavement to demonstrate their commitment to principles, putting feet to their beliefs.
As God always does, I noticed something the next day while reading a passage in Deuteronomy, a re-telling by Moses of God’s faithfulness, reminding the Children of Israel of whose they are, the God they serve and the territory He has promised them.
Chapter 8, verse 6 says,
“So you shall keep the commandments
of the LORD your God
by walking in his ways and by fearing him.”
If I say I’m following Jesus, I need to move, put my feet on the path and keep walking, going forward, claiming the territory He says is mine. I can’t just stand on the sidelines and make small talk and take pictures…..
Knowing the King and finding the Kingdom
W A L K .
More inspiring stories over there. You should go check them out. 🙂