For my challenge this week of getting out of my comfort zone, I purchased a one-piece, and headed over to the Arc in Columbia Tuesday morning for a water aerobics class. I had a feeling the age group was going to be a bit more mature in years than myself. When I walked in to the pool area, I spotted a few ladies in a group already in the pool. I got in and swam over to them asking if they were doing the water aerobic class. They said they were and welcomed me.
One lady, Kay, introduced herself and told me “I am so happy you came, we have a lot of fun, you are going to love it!” I asked her how long she had been coming and she said almost everyday for the past year. She then pointed to the edge of the pool where a walker was parked and told me, “See that? That’s my walker, I can’t do much on dry ground but in the water I can really move.” It was sooo inspiring and touching. Kay had a great attitude. She didn’t say why she was in a walker, how long, how bad she hurts, just that she was able to overcome while in the water.
The ladies were discussing the past instructor being back and were excited that she was. They were speaking very highly of her and about how much they had missed her. Once the instructor, Kim got in the pool we were ready to go. Jumping jacks, jumping lunges, etc all in the water. I was following along when the Kim told me to use both arms. I had only been using the one because that’s what she was doing. She laughed and said she didn’t realize I was new since she’s been gone for 3 months, and had returned from shoulder surgery so she would be using just the one arm but I needed to use both. We did a lot of leg work, went back and forth down the pool, used the noodle as resistance, etc. The whole time, Kim was cheering us on, “Breathe, and smile. Two most important things.” By the end of the 50 minutes my legs were tired and today my calves are a little sore.
After class, I swam away hearing Kim and Kay talking about how good they feel and the water is their miracle. The rest of the class had already exited the pool and were on their separate ways.
The thing that stuck out most in my mind was that out of the 8 or 9 ladies there, Kim and Kay were the only two that looked like that really struggled with anything physically, yet they were the most positive. They were the ones who introduced themselves to me, made me feel welcomed, didn’t mind that I was about 30-40 years younger in their group. They were the ones cheering everyone on and had a sense of gratefulness about them. I could tell that they probably encourage each other and build one another up and people are drawn to that.
Have you ever experienced that? You meet someone and your first impression has nothing to do with their appearance, it’s what you feel? That you like them, you want to get to know them, you feel connected? Everyone has heard first impressions are everything. This can be true. If you only meet someone for a moment and are sour then that is probably what they will remember. I think alot of how others percieve you has less to do with your outward appearance and more to do with your heart. What is your attitude, your energy, your presence? People can feel that. Kay was warm, sincere and kind when she welcomed me to the class. And that first impression was definitely important. But when I got to know her a little better, hearing about her walker, seeing how she interacted with the group, well that left a lasting impression.
What impressions are you leaving? When you leave the house, when you leave your job, when you leave church? With your children, your friends, your parents, your co-workers? What if all we had was today? What kind of impression would they be left with? When I leave this world, I want everyone to know that I love God and I love people. I want to people to remember me for my heart, not my appearance. In this day in age it seems to be all about outward appearances, many women even struggling daily with self doubt, low self-esteem, and a poor self image. If we could just all see ourselves and each other the way that God sees us, then we would all feel beautiful.
In Samuel 16:7 it says, “…The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”