Thursday, August 15, 2013

Swimming Lessons

A couple of summers ago I taught myself to tread water for a fair amount of time. It was a huge feat since I nearly drowned at age three and never took swimming lessons. So this summer, I decided to try to improve my pool-flailing (that’s probably the only way to describe my version of swimming). Having spent hours in the pool, I can navigate from one end to the other without gulping mouthfuls of water. But let’s face it, it’s hard to teach yourself something when you have little knowledge to go on and no proper example.

Like me, Mom didn’t grow up swimming nor did she ever take any lessons. But when I was in high school, she began going to a community college pool with my grandmother. She would play around in the shallow end but she never ventured to the deep. Then one day, a complete stranger, an older gentleman who was probably in his 70s, offered to teach Mom to swim. She was very hesitant and told him she was afraid of drowning. He replied, “Oh darlin’, that water will hold you up.” I guess he had an honest face because mom acceded and in no time he had her swimming laps the length of the Olympic-sized pool.

It is amazing how his simple offer and genuine concern affected Mom’s life. Recalling that story was a good reminder how often the smallest gifts we give can make a huge difference in someone’s life. And that the most important gift we give is ourselves and our time.

Galatians 6:10: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Friday, August 9, 2013

In the Dark

A few weeks ago I dreamed I was in a house surrounded by windows through which I could see a storm swirling all around outside. Oddly enough, I was smiling and felt perfect peace even as I watched the wind toss objects around. Then I left the safe, light-filled haven and went into the storm to seek a friend who was lost and desperate. When I found him, he was in utter darkness. The storm never scared me, but the darkness did because of what it represents for my friend.

After I woke up and pondered the dream, I thought of Psalm 139 in which David says: “even the darkness is light to You.” Several summers before Momma died, God gave me that psalm to cling to. I have returned to it often when I feel confused or  “in the dark” as to God’s will on a matter. The psalm brings me comfort when the storms of life assail me just as they did in the dream.

Despite the darkness of this world, God who is the Light, said that those walking in darkness will behold a great light. (Isaiah 9:2) So my prayer is that all in my life who have not yet embraced that light will do so. In the meantime, I will continue to take comfort in Psalm 139…

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.