There were many amazing moments on my recent family vacation but one sticks out in my mind. The kids, my mom, and I were at Disney’s Animal Kingdom where a small-scale Brasilian Carnaval was taking place. Dancers wore elaborate brightly-colored costumes and there were even a couple of men on stilts (yes, dancing). There were many live musicians. Several children as well as adult visitors had joined the dancing, while a large crowd clustered around to watch, take photos, and video this event. We stopped to watch and take photos/videos. The girls were too tired to join in at this point, so we simply sat at the foot of a flowerbed.
To my left was a couple in approximately their thirties who joined in the dancing. They stayed toward the edge as they had a child watching but not participating. It was clear these two knew how to dance and particularly this style of dance. Their bodies moved seamlessly in rhythm to the music and to one another. It was impressive to watch them. Their daughter, who was waiting in a stroller immediately to my left, looked on. She was a lovely child who I would guess to be four years old. Her hair was sun-kissed waves that fell past her shoulders and she had a beautiful smile. Her right leg was missing below the knee and in its place she had a prosthetic with a Wonder Woman print for the calf/shin. It was the honey color of her skin only on the foot portion, which was in a pretty sparkly sandal just like her left foot.
After the parents had rejoined their little girl on the sidelines, the three of them now spectators, one of the Carnaval dancers came up to the daughter. She crouched down and asked her to dance. The little girl was very shy about it and unsure of herself. The Carnaval dancer, continuing to smile and encourage her, gently reached for her hand. The girl reached back and stepped from her stroller, slowly, following the lady in hot pink out to dance. She lacked confidence, but the dancer stayed one on one with her, smiling and showing her some simpler moves. After a brief stint out there, the little girl walked back to her stroller and sat down. I could see a couple things in her face even without knowing her—one, that she still did not feel confident, but two, that she was also thankful to the woman in pink for letting her try.
My eyes filled with tears as my heart reflected on the intuition and compassion of this woman whose job was “simply” a street performer at Disney. That day she went above and beyond the surface level. She could have just been there to entertain people and there would have been nothing wrong with that. Yet she saw an opportunity to impact a life. She saw a chance to give a little girl who, I would imagine, is sharply aware of how “different” she is than other kids… and included her. She did not allow this child to be overlooked. I got choked up and my eyes filled with tears as I witnessed this. It was truly beautiful.
Do you have opportunities in your life to scratch beyond the surface? To really see needs? To take a chance on someone? To give a little extra time or a little extra love? To consider how your actions might affect another? To include those that are left out or misfits or unlovely? I’m telling you, some of these seemingly small acts might end up being the big acts.
Jesus didn’t hang out with the glamour squad. He loved and served those others deemed unworthy. How much more should I follow suit, when I have received the gift of His grace so freely?