Unexpected joy

I had the privilege of going to the Sac and Fox Pow Wow on Saturday night in Stroud, OK. My mom and stepdad were in town, and we went with his family. Who have, much to my delight, adopted me as one of their own. That’s another story. We will get to that later.

This just happened to be the largest Pow Wow event, I have ever attended. I was in awe of the regalia, the number of people and the instant sense of c community. The pow wow is attended by thousands of people. When my husband I arrived, Mom and Grandma showed us where the family seating area was.

Thirty minutes before the opening ceremonies the family next to us started rearranging their seating. Eventually the brought in a young man, probably in his mid-twenties in a wheel chair. I believe he had cerberal palsy. His family wheeled him into a spot, then promptly forgot he was there.  The opening ceremony was beautiful. Hundreds of dancers dressed in regalia entered the circle. It was a site to behold.

I watched several dances in awe at the beauty and ceremony. We were waiting for grandpa and my Aunt Suzie to return. Once they arrived we had to play musical chairs of our own, so Suzie and her wheel chair could fit in our area. The young man finally spoke and asked what we were doing. I told him we were playing a reverse game of musical chairs and asked him if he wanted to play.

To my surprise the most beautiful smile spread across  his face. It was if someone had turned on a light. He laughed and said no. He didn’t want to play.  Whatever happened in that moment seemed to break the ice. He was eager to have someone to talk to. I was eager to see that smile again. We spent the rest of the evening, talking on and off. Every time he spoke, first came that smile.

I even got his sister and her bf/husband in on it. Toward the end of the evening we were going back and forth. He turned to me with a huge smile on his face and said “What did I do to you?”  Without hesitation I resonpded, “You made me smile.”

It was true. I was already happy. I was there with my husband, mom, dad, and other family members. Yet the young man showed me a depth of joy, I hadn’t yet experienced. Whatever put him in that chair, had not dampned the level of joy he felt, or the level of joy he shared. His mind was untouched by fear, by the jaded darkness that many of us had experienced. Instead there was just joy and happiness.

Perhaps he was an angel in disguise. This young man who’s own family didn’t even speak to him until I started teasing him about napping in his chair. I think I shocked them by engaging him in conversation. Yet, he is the one that blessed  me.  Lessons always come in unexpected packaging.

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