A Pool Called Bethesda

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

When Bert was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy back in April, one of the biggest challenges we faced was finding supports in the community. This is a different post for a different day, but it really surprised us that a doctor could tell us our son has CP and we would not immediately be provided with a list of things to do or support groups to join or activities for disabled children. We had to do a lot of work to actively seek these things out, and, indeed, we hit a lot of brick walls when email addresses we were given for groups and activities would come back undeliverable and websites would be defunct. 

One group we learned about was called AngelFish Georgia, which is a swim instruction group for children with disabilities of all kinds. We learned through the website that the instructors are specially trained, and what we read all sounded very promising. I didn't see a summer schedule on the website, so I sent an email to the email address listed, inquiring about the schedule and if there might be a spot for Bert. 

The next morning I happened to be up very early; I can't even remember why. But I woke up to an email response from the director of AngelFish. It sounded almost too good to be true: the director was so welcoming and encouraging, the cost was very low, and the information the director provided was thorough. The director informed me that lessons were held at a pool located in a local park called Bethesda. For the first time since Bert's diagnosis I felt hopeful about a community we could become a part of, but I still felt a little apprehensive since, again, it sounded too good to be true. 

After reading the email, I opened my Bible, hoping to get my day started off right. I opened to the Gospel of John to begin reading where I had left off the day before. The scripture that morning was this:

After this, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep [Gate] a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be well?" The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me." Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your mat, and walk." Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

- John 5:1-9 (New American Bible, Revised Edition read in the Blessed is She Bible

A pool called Bethesda ... a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled ... Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your mat, and walk." 

I couldn't get through it without crying, just as I can't get through it without crying now. I just knew God had His hand in this, and it was yet another reminder that I might love my son more than anything, but God loves him more. 

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