They tricked me. The instructors were determined to get me over this last hurdle, so they told me they would walk to the end with me and lower me into the deep water. I nervously agreed and took that slow, terrified trudge to the end of the board.
I waited to be gently lowered into the water. Instead, I was jolted by a rough shove. I didn't have time to even take a big breath, and suddenly I was under water. It was deep, and I couldn't tell which way was up and which was down. None of my limbs touched a solid surface, and I seriously wondered if I would ever feel the ground under my feet again.
Of course, I didn't drown. And they probably didn't shove me as maliciously as my childish mind deduced. I sputtered my way to the surface, and upon urgently filling my lungs with air, realized that I was stronger than I thought. I could swim! I could really swim! In the deep end!
I don't remember ever being afraid of the pool again.
I have alluded to big changes coming in my world, and I will share the specifics of those changes in due time. I have to go back a ways first, though, to that diving board moment so many years ago. You have to know this...As I continue to walk this journey out, it feels a little like walking to the end of that Diving Board of Terror and being pushed over the edge.
I want to be the one who looks up at the instructor with a grin before cannon-balling over the edge and glorying in the big splash that ripples from my weight hitting the water.
I want to be the one who is brave and fearless and full of gumption.
And maybe, just MAYBE I will get there one day. I pray my faith continues to increase as I come to know the Faithful One more intimately. But today.
Today I say, "I'm ready!" in a timid voice and inch my way to the end. Today, I squeeze my eyes shut and sometimes even imagine my demise. I know that when I get shoved off the end and take the plunge, I will briefly wonder which way is up and which way is down. I will wonder if I will make it.
But then I will swim.
My dad was one of the most courageous people I ever knew. He never moved across the world, or stepped into physical danger to save someone else, or really did anything particularly remarkable. What he did do, though, was live missionally and purposefully in his context. Day after day, year after year. He was mocked and dismissed and did not, by any means, live an extravagant life. He would frequently say to me, "Ab, just show up. Half the battle is just showing up." And he did. He showed up, again and again and again. He showed up and he loved and served relentlessly.
Then I pray over and over again:
"Jesus, help me to trust you. Help me to trust you. Thank you for giving me beautiful examples of courage and faith in the people who surround me. Oh, and help me to trust you."
Or something like that.