The playground was not particularly busy. As I sat on a bench waiting, taking stock of the kids and their interactions was the most exciting thing I could do in an otherwise slow hot afternoon. My initial observations were on clothes, colors, and fashion – it is wonderful to see how kids begin to express themselves in unique ways from the age of seven or eight. As my attention drifted, the antics and ways the relationships were playing out got more and more interesting. While some of the younger kids parents were around, several in the pre-teen stage were on their own. The difference between young and older was the blatant carefree, I will play anyway I want to play, I am invincible attitude expressed by a select few.
For what seemed like hours, probably five to ten minutes, the reality show played out as if it was the background for a cliché. Some kids naturally played the role of bullies while others took on the victim character. Parents interceded when they felt they must, needed or not. My drafting mind was beginning to look for something more interesting.
A high-pitched screech grabbed my eyes; I could not understand the language so my mind translated – “Listen! And be kind! Help me out of this!” (Psalm 30.10) The confident nine going on nineteen years old kid was acting more like a three year old desperately searching for his mother. Everyone over the age of fifteen looked, momentarily hesitated, and then moved to help.
I could see how his wedged hand could be painful. While it was in an unusual way, it could have happened to anyone. With minimal words, everyone pitched in to support the child and lift him in a way to free his hand. As the pain released itself, the not so confident eyes turned, tears running down his eyes. In any language we understood the expression of thanks.
As I retreated back into my virtual world I wondered if I had seen a play with myself as a lead character. It was strangely familiar.