Every Saturday morning from Memorial Day to Labor Day, I swim a mile at the fifty meter outside pool at the Jordan Y. I like the challenge of an extra twenty-five meters of most in-door pools.
Usually I begin my swim using hand paddles made of thick plastic and 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 began the next thirty-six laps with 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 seemed to burrow in my brain like worms going through tunnels in the dirt. With each stroke I felt a burden lift and a feeling of freedom emerge as I went from one side of the pool to the other, adding laps with each stroke.
When I first began my swim, I wondered how I would ever emerge with refreshment that I usually
experience. Negative thoughts increase suffering and suffering weighs heavily. Removing the paddles
released the pain in my hands and heart, allowing for Jesus to come, my mantra for a dozen laps.
Sometimes a simple one-or-two-word phrase or mantra becomes 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, the water washes 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 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 simple words can summon depths of your healing balm to a troubled soul. Remind us we can always come to you, with simple ways that can reach the expanse of your love. Amen.