As summer is arriving, the pool at our house is OPEN!!! We are looking forward to a full summer of kids swimming and mom (and dad when he’s home) enjoying the pool with our boys. Jonah has been swimming pretty well for a couple of years. Micah, on the other hand, doesn’t have the hang of it yet. He took a few lessons from the GREAT Sharon Banks last year (our schedule wouldn't let us finish), but still either sticks pretty close to the steps or uses his “puddle jumper.”
SO, being the dad that I am, when we go swimming, I’m always trying to teach him how. Today (Monday) was one of those days. We were having a great time swimming together. Jonah was diving down to the bottom and having a great time. Micah was bobbing along in his puddle jumper. I was just enjoying being the dad of two great kids. However, I wasn’t content to let things just bob along, so I stepped in.
I asked Micah if he wanted to take off his puddle jumper and try swimming. He answered with an EMPHATIC, “YES!!!”
We talked about kicking (kick, kick, kick….) We talked about moving your arms and pushing the water out of the way. We talked about taking a deep breath and holding your breath. Then I put him on the steps, stepped back a few feet and told him to come on. He did!! The first shot was basically a jump to my arms from the steps. Then we started progressing. In several attempts, he was swimming about four or five feet. He was proud of himself. I was proud of him. We had a great time!
Now…there were several things that happened today in the pool that weren’t as “boring” as that story. First, of all, I didn’t tell you about the time that he jumped off the steps toward me then, for some reason, got scared. He turned back to the steps (under water), he turned back toward me (under water), he started doing circles (under water.) Now, all of this happened in about a second. I immediately stepped up and picked him up out of the water
Second thing that happened was he had swam to me several times, then he decided to step up onto the pool deck, traipse down to the deep end and JUMP IN!!! Yes, I watched my son jump into the deep end about 12 feet away from me. Thankfully, I was watching him the whole time and as SOON as he jumped, I immediately got to him. (again…literally seconds)
Now, I think God has shown me something about my own life in this experience. First of all, God is trying to teach me how to live my life for Him. He doesn’t throw me into the deep end and just hope I’ll swim. No, He puts me on the steps (in a safe place), takes a few steps away, holds His arms out, and says, “Come on…” I jump and feel good about myself even though He basically did all of the work. The next time, He steps a few feet further away and then tells us to “Come on” again. With each try, we are doing a bit more, but our Father is ALWAYS right there watching carefully to be sure we don’t falter and drown in our own self-pride. And drown we WOULD if it weren’t for His supervision.
Sometimes we would drown because of our inability, but many times we would drown because of our confusion. Yes, we take that leap of faith, but then we wonder if we should have done that (turn to the Father…turn to the steps…turn to the Father…) Before we know it, we’re doing circles in our own misery and God is still saying, “Come on…” But, like the loving Father that He is, He comes to us in our confusion and says, “It’s ok, I’m so proud of you for trying.”
The other way we drown is because of our pride. Oh yes, we’ve swam a few feet, so now it’s time to try the deep end of the pool. It’s time to go off the high dive. It’s time to jump into uncharted waters. We’ve seen others do this, it’s OUR TURN!!! So, we get out of the safety of our Father’s control and we go hurling ourselves into the deep end of the pool. As soon as we jump, we think, “What in the world have I just done…” but it’s too late. Now we’re in a place that we have no business being!! But again, our Father comes quickly to us and picks us up (all sputtering and gasping for air) and He says, “Wow…you really got yourself into a mess didn’t you? Why don’t we go back down here where it’s a little safer. There will be a time to jump into the deep end, but it’s not today…but I’m really proud of your bravery!!”
So, where am I? Where are you? Well, I’m not content to keep staying in the shallow end, and I’m probably not ready to tread water for hours in the deep end, so I’ll do a little of both. Yep, I enjoy the relaxation of knowing that I only have to swim a couple of strokes to get to my Father’s arms. AND, I enjoy the exhilaration of jumping off into the unknown of the deep end every now and then. After all…isn’t swimming supposed to be FUN?!?!!!