March 2, 2012
As I walked out of a tax meeting this morning, I came upon three women and a five-year-old girl named Lillian who had just finished showing the ladies her balance beam routine. Looking at the happy faces around me, I said that I was so sorry I had missed it. One of the women said, “Well, Lillian, would you want to do it again?” I looked down at this beautiful little girl, brown hair in a ponytail, big, cocoa eyes opening wider. And she whispered, “Yes.”
Without hesitation, Lillian turned the carpet in this corporate lobby into a four-inch-wide beam. I watched this child, awe-struck by her graceful movements, her physical strength, and desire to execute each move with such precision. When she held a pose, I could hear the voice of her coach in my head saying, “Hold that for another moment, Lillian. That’s beautiful.”
And it was.
In fact, those few moments were so beautiful and somehow sacred that I had to write this down immediately. Afterward, one of the women asked Lillian how her coach taught her to hold her hands and Lillian said softly, “Like a crown,” and held her hands together to show us.
I don’t know any of the women who watched Lillian with me, or Lillian herself for that matter. No matter, sometimes exquisite moments just appear, in the shape of soft-voiced, five-year-old gymnasts on balance beams made of air.