We have spent a lot of time in the water this summer since it is hotter than fried hell in Texas right now.
So, one of the things Z loves to do is to go to the deep end of the pool with me. Because of her age, we spend most of our time splashing around in the shallow end, but at least once or twice while we are swimming, I will ask her if she wants to go to the deep end with me. She always answers “YES!” with a lot of excitement.
Then we will paddle down to the other end of the pool and touch the side and call back to everyone in the shallow end, “Hello! We are here in the deep end!” Then we paddle back. It’s a little mini adventure and it is a delight to see her joy in it. She isn’t at all afraid.
So yesterday, same thing. We went down to the deep end, talked about how fun it was to be there, and paddled back. When we got back to the shallow water, Z looked at me, and then pointed across the pool the other direction- to the other side of the shallow part of the pool- and said, “I want to go to that other deep end over there now.”
I realized at that moment that of course to her, the entire pool is the deep end. All of it is over her head. And she is not fearful. We have safeguards in place. But she also knows she is not alone. We are always nearby to help her navigate and to let her safely try things on her own. If she gets in any sort of trouble though, one of us is never more than an arm’s reach away.
To be more like Z.
How often do I feel afraid in the deep water of life when really, I am never anywhere that I am out of the reach of God, who is always there to hold me up. How often am I only in the “other deep end” that is only deep because it looks that way to me with my limited perception of the world, and my faith that needs to continue to grow and stretch.
And how fortunate are we all that God does not require us to understand the world in order to help us navigate through it.
Today, and in the coming weeks, as we begin a new school year, I pray I will be reminded that when I am feeling overwhelmed, I am only in the other deep end. I do not need to worry. I do not need to panic. I do not need to do it all alone.
I just need to take joy being in the water.