Wednesday, January 5, 2011

i don't know how to swim

photo from
When I was trying to learn to float, the teenaged instructor would put her hands under my back while she encouraged me to relax.
I'd say, "Don't let go."
She'd say, "I won't. Relax. Tip your chin up."
"Don't let go."
"I won't. Tuck in your tummy."
"Don't let go."
"I won't."
"I promise. I won't let go."
Then, when I had my posture just right, my chin up, tummy tucked and was sufficiently relaxed for the water to buoy me up, she let go.
Immediately all my muscles tensed and I sunk.

From then on, I don't care how many times they told me they wouldn't let go, I don't care how many promises they made, I couldn't relax. I couldn't trust them. Even if it was a different girl, or my mother, or my husband. My abdominal muscles alway had that slightly tensed feeling. I was ready. On guard. I still can't float.

The other day I asked God to give me a word, a theme, for this year. A lot of people do that, and I like the idea. I've done it before, although, I have to admit that I usually forget what the word is by December.
This time I heard "Trust." But don't I already know how to trust? Then I heard it again and my stomach muscles did that thing. They tightened up. "But why, Lord? Why would I need to trust? What do you have planned, exactly?" Then I realized that I live my life with those tightened abs. Well, not tight in the way I'd like them to be, but tensed, ready. 
I live life in an attitude of not trusting. 
I thought I was trusting. Especially I thought I was trusting God.
I do believe. I have faith. I think I have strong faith, but what I've realized is that faith and trust are not the same. Trust is faith lived out.
So, I'm hoping this year I'll learn how to let those muscles relax. I'm hoping I'll put my faith into action and let go. 
I'm even thinking it might be time for me to take swimming lessons again.


  1. A woman and her husband came from Mexico to speak at my school... she looked a bit like you... enough that it made me miss you. I miss you!

  2. I was upset with those swimming instructors also. And the one who made Julie and the others jump into the water from the low board, first thing. When I was a kid I tried to take lessons. I was so proud of myself when I found I could stroke and kick and move around the pool a little bit. The instructor laughed and said, "Well that's only a dog paddle!" I was so embarrassed that I never went back. I taught myself how to swim by imitating the swimmers. And then there was that time in Salida where you went under the water a couple of times and it really scared you. Mom

  3. There is such joy in floating. There is such joy in you. Imagine you floating! What the Lord would do. :0)

  4. Good luck learning to Swim. I'm pretty terrible at it, myself. I doggy paddle until my arms feel like they're going to fall off, then I just kind of float there, until I've recovered, or someone has realized that Kayla isn't swimming anymore, and comes to drag me to the shallow end. But I practiced like crazy over the summer, and I think I'm getting better. Try swimming in super shallow water first. So if you put your feet down, the bottom is right there. The feeling when you can't reach is the scariest thing I've felt in my short life. So just take your time, relax those tummy muscles, and try to have a great time in the water. :]


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