Yesterday I watched a handicapped woman being lowered from her wheelchair into the swimming pool. As soon as she was in, she began swimming freely through the water, her arms and upper body propelling her swiftly. This gave me pause, and I began to think of how this is a metaphor for life in so many ways.

Each of us has our own "handicaps," those things that prevent us from freely "swimming" through life. We are bound in so many ways, yet there is a part of us that wishes, that dreams to be free and boundlessly cavort without fear.

But how many of us create these boundaries ourselves? How many of us are even aware of what these ropes or chains are that contain us? And even more—how many of us would not even recognize the opportunity to be unfettered (unchained) even if it were presented? How many would not know what to do with this freedom if we had it?

For me, watching this woman was an interesting experience. It was not the first time I've seen her, but this time I noticed several small children, sitting in wheelchairs, also awaiting their turn in the water. I wondered if they, like she, would frolic in the freedom of the water. Would they recognize the difference between the life "in" the chair and the one "in" the water? Simply put, would they take advantage of the opportunity that would soon be given to them?

That made me think of my own "chains"--self made, and imposed by others, or by circumstance. Do I recognize them? Do I appreciate the times when they are not tied tightly around me? Do I know how to remove them myself? Can I experience the obvious joy of this woman for freedom in another milieu?

Lots of food for thought. Lots to appreciate. Lots to plan for. I hope I find my own "swimming pool" real soon. And I hope I remember "how to swim" when I get there. And I hope I remember that it is G‑d (Higher Power) who gives me the wonderful opportunity to learn these lessons.