The Red Ball
I have just walked out of the weight room, did dumbbell flys with 55lbs in each hand, I guess that makes me pretty strong.
I have been thinking about that concept lately, about what strength is. the difference between emotional and physical strength, about how strong I am. Most people think I am a rock, that I do not get moved by anything, that I have some natural power against emotion and that my physical strength somehow relates to my emotional strength. That’s fine, and to some extend it may be true. These days however, I am reflecting lots on moments where that hasn’t been the case.
I had taken a group of young people from Canada to Bhutan; we had stopped along the side of a dirt road and were on the way to see a Dzong. These buildings are a place of religious and secular governance and this one happened to be on the other side of a small village. They walked through the rice paddy fields and I stayed back at the bus with a few of the younger kids who were tired out from the day’s activities. There by the bus, amongst the mud houses, was a little store where I bought a few candies and drinks. As we wandered back to the bus, there were a group of children playing and in particular one little boy who was as cute as a button.
The kids I was with were playing with a ball and wanted to include the local kids in on the game. Soon they joined in to play with this little red ball, all except the cute little boy. We called to him, but he just ran away and hid behind a mud wall. I asked our bus driver to see if he could persuade the boy to play with us or at least tell him that these foreign kids were quite friendly.
When the driver returned he said ‘sir the boy is mute and deaf’. I am not sure what it was about that statement that got to me, but suddenly I was over come with emotion, I sat there thinking how lucky I was as compared to this little boy in this little country who would likely not have much in life as he was challenged to begin with. I asked our kids if they wouldn’t mind giving up the ball to the little boy. They said they wouldn’t mind at all; and so one of them made their way to the boy and held out the ball for him. He wouldn’t take it at first but then accepted it in the end.
I was still rather glum and our driver noticed. He came back and said ‘sir, don’t worry so much, the boy will be fine’. I asked him how he knew and he referred me back to the Tigersnest Monastery that I had gone to earlier in my trip. He said that the high lama that my friend and I were fortunate enough to be blessed by had great power, that he would one day come down from the mountain and wander among the people and that in so doing he would come to this village with this little boy and place his hands on the boys head and the boy would talk. I suggested that Tashi (our driver) was just trying to make me feel better, and he said ‘NO sir…I WAS that that boy’!
As we were talking, the deaf boy’s older sister came along and took the ball away from him. He just sat down there right in the dirt and began to cry, I wandered over and gave him some candy, which he happily took and it put a smile back on his face. Funny, because that smile mad me cry.