Lander Junior High was 100 yards from the public indoor swimming pool, so P.E. included one quarter of swimming lessons, which I despised (except for the five minutes in the hot tub at the end of class.)
I remember swimming the full length of the deep end, with the teacher walking beside me the entire way screaming, Put your head under the water! Put your head under the water! Put your head under the water!
I refused to comply, because you can’t see or breathe under there. No I wasn’t going to open my eyes under the water. Are you kidding me?
P.E. is stupid. (See my PTSD tremors?)
I’m recalling this story for my little sweetie who just headed back to college after an all-too-short weekend, and you are so tired.
I’m tired, too, which is why your dad sat on the barstool and listened to me cry my way through wiping down the kitchen counters this morning. Sometimes you go and go and go, and to keep going feels like someone telling you to put your head under the water where you can’t breathe.
I was praying about this, because I really think God intends us to go hard, putting in long hours. Paul says it in Colossians 1:29 when he describes the work he is doing for the churches.
“To this end I labor, struggling…”
Labor: To grow weary, tired, exhausted with your work.
Picture me in the swimming pool and then, when you’re done laughing, picture Michael Phelps. See how brave he is putting his head under the water? Isn’t that how a person should look in the pool, not all floundery and expending a lot of energy for not getting anywhere.
I think there is a way for us to smoothly dip our heads down into the really hard work and swim through it. What we need to do is figure out how to breathe along the way.
…to breathe magnificently like an Olympic gold medal swimmer –just coming up for a second, but regularly and enough to keep going.
This morning, after I stopped weeping in the kitchen and after taking a long, hot shower, I went downstairs with my Bible and a cup of coffee. Pulling grandma’s blue flannel quilt over my lap, I said, Lord, I need a breath of air right now. I can’t stop laboring for a few weeks, like I wish I could, only for this one short day.
Sweet girl, I hope you’ll note that I didn’t cry the rest of the day. I laughed even. Baked you some hot cookies and did the dishes.
We can’t pull out of our hard labor, dripping, and head for the hot tub quite yet.
So let me say this all gentle, Put your head under the water.
I will if you will.
Jesus will help us breathe as we go.