Every Saturday morning from Memorial Day to Labor Day I swim a mile at the fifty-meter outdoor pool at the Jordan YMCA in Indianapolis. I like the challenge of an extra twenty-five meters, the typical length of local pools.
Usually I begin my swim using hand paddles made of thick plastic along with a float between my knees. Strengthening my upper body happens when I swim using only my arms.
Last Saturday, my fingers were getting sore and a little numb as I completed the thirty-sixth lap, a half-mile. I slipped the paddles and the float onto the pool deck and continued the next thirty-six laps using the freestyle stroke. Swimming into the fullness of the water, I felt my energy shift.
My uncomfortable fingers locked onto the paddles by thick rubber tubes became a metaphor for the way my mind was interlaced with negative thoughts that burrowed in my brain like worms going through tunnels in the dirt. With each stroke, I felt a burden lift and freedom emerge as I went from one side of the pool to the other.
When I first began my swim, I wondered how I would ever emerge with refreshment I usually experience. Negative thoughts increase suffering and suffering weighs heavily. Removing the paddles released the pain in my hands and heart, allow for "Jesus come", my mantra for the remaining eighteen laps to enter.
A simple one-or-two-word phrase or mantra became a prayer asking God to adjust my heart and move on to healthier thoughts. Swimming through the water, my hands moving like a paddle, my legs the motor, I feltl the water rushing over me, bathing my body in cleansing ways.
When I touched the deck after 72 laps and jumped out of the pool meeting the chilly mid-60's degree temperature, I felt renewed and restored. Walking to the basket where the floats are kept, I looked over my shoulder once again at the water holding all of the negativity I released.
I am thankful for the way God worked when my simple prayer, "Jesus come," was received from a heart struggling to float.
Prayer: God, thank you for the way two words can summon depths of your healing to a troubled soul. Remind us we can always come to you, knowing simple ways can reach the expanse of your love. Amen.