He limped down the beach with pride -- his wife strolling by his side as their blonde Labrador retriever galloped happily in front of them, releasing the ball steps from my blanket.
The dog did a U-turn at the tide's edge and stopped. He sat patiently as his owner maneuvered his degenerating limbs into place so he could reach down and pick up the ball.
I imagined in that moment he was remembering the nightly neighborhood catch sessions in the street, when his only ache was his skinned knee from falling off his two wheeler the day before.
Now, he was no longer like the rest of us; fate has already revealed his ending -- slowly, tauntingly lowering him into the vat of atrophy. He will inevitably drown in his own brittleness, but today, today he can still walk. He can still reach down, pick up the ball and throw it underhand like his dad probably taught him when he was 6.
He smiled at his wife, she smiled back and they kept walking.
We met at the stairs at the same time; She put one hand on the rail and the other on her chair, hoisting herself to standing. There was a ramp right next to the staircase, but she chose the stairs instead. The ramp was the last resort because today, she could still climb.
"You go ahead," exposing a determined grin.
"May I carry your chair up?" I asked.
"Oh that's so kind, but my husband is trailing behind; he'll get it. It'll take me a while to get up there."
The girls skipped ahead as I took each step as if it were my last, "Why her? Why me?"
"Look, mommy!" She lifted her finger pointing to her left. I pushed my hand on hers, lowering her arm to her side.
"No pointing," I said sternly.
I thought she was pointing at her, but she didn't even notice her, she was pointing at the three dachshund puppies trotting beside her and her husband.
"They're so cuuuuute," my eldest daughter remarked. We sat on the bench, following their route to their car. One, two, three -- they hopped into the back seat like children hyped on too much sugar and too many turns on the slide.
And then -- it was her turn.
He lifted her out of her chair and into his arms. They paused for a moment embracing and kissing like couples in love do, as if the short trek from the passenger side to the driver's side would mean an eternity apart.
The man on the beach threw the ball because he still can.
The woman on by the stairs climbed because she still can.
The woman in the wheelchair expressed her love because she still can.
In one day, I was reminded that there is always something we can do, even when everything we can't do or haven't done is at the forefront of our minds.
I can walk on the beach without a struggle. I can ascend a flight of stairs without a care. I can get into my car without help. I am blessed. I am a miracle. Sometimes, we need to stop and put things in to perspective.
Sometimes, we need to allow the small things we take for granted to be big, to be huge, to be the greatest accomplishments of our day because for some people, the small things are big.
So next time you feel defeated or upset with yourself for not doing enough, stop, take a step and remember what a miracle you are --
You can breathe
You can see
You can hear
You can walk
You can climb
You can throw a ball
You can talk
You can smile
You can hug and kiss
You can love this life and live this life with all your might because you still can.