Dear Family and Friends:
It has been raining off and on here for the past two weeks. Today’s sogginess forced me to walk indoors on the track at our local YMCA. Not just me. The entire “Y” day camp population was there playing games, shooting hoops, even eating lunch on the four basketball courts. Cute kids all over the place and a lovely din and racket. I was reminded of blessing number seven in the Sheva Berachot recited during Jewish wedding ceremonies. It equates the joy of bride and groom and the shouts of young people celebrating with the songs of children at play in the streets of Jerusalem. That beautiful image resonates with me whenever I hit that spot in the ceremony under the Chupah. Well, we certainly heard the songs of children at play on the courts of Bloomington this morning. It was music to my ears.
On one of my loops around the courts a little fellow, maybe five years old, sitting near the track, looked up at me as I went by, pointed his finger at me and shot his imaginary finger gun. He also made the universal noise all imaginary guns make, “P’shu, p’shu.” I, being the responsible adult that I am pointed back, cocked my thumb and returned fire (along with the required sound effect). On my next loop he was waiting in ambush. Kneeling next to the curtain that divides the courts he fired when ready as I walked on by. I was indeed caught by surprise and my imaginary return fire missed by a mile.
For a minute I thought, “Maybe, in this day and age, with so much real shooting going on in our world, I shouldn’t be playing such a game.” It’s not very PC, right? But, the heck with that, I decided to be ready for him as I rounded the turn on my next loop. I would quick draw and shoot from a crouch just like Doc Holliday at the OK Corral. But the kid surprised me again. As I approached the court he was nowhere to be seen. There were no shots, no sound effects.
I glanced around and saw the little bandit. No longer interested in our showdown, he had joined another little outlaw and both were trying to figure out how to twirl hula hoops and keep them from falling to the floor. They just couldn’t hula them fast enough. At first I was a bit disappointed, having lost my rival to another. But then I couldn’t help but smile and think, what if all the shooters traded their guns for hula hoops? What if our imaginary shoot sound effects were erased by the giggles of hula hoopers trying to keep their hoops up over their hips? What a silly thought.
What a wonderful thought.
The sun finally poked through as I walked out to the car. I’m sure my little adversary had not even the slightest memory of our YMCA duel this morning. It was just a couple of imaginary shots at an old dude walking the track in his beat up Cubs cap. Nothing important to remember there. But for me, imagining the world doing the hula rather than killing each other on the streets of our cities or in its churches…well, that was a taste of the Messianic era we sometimes talk about. Sweet.