My little girl is no longer afraid of the water! Three years of swimming lessons, and I feel like it has finally clicked. Until now, she has always loved the thought of swimming and has thoroughly enjoyed splashing around, but she never truly relaxed in the water. She would fiercely hold onto a floatation device, clenching it so tightly that it was more of a hindrance than a help. She would refuse to jump in unless someone was holding out their hands to catch her, and she was timid about putting her head under the water. The fear of the deep was overwhelming.
This year has been different. My daughter no longer has a floatation device of any kind…no puddle jumper, no noodle, no kickboard. She is swimming! She is jumping in without hesitation. She is going completely under the water. She is even learning to dive.
So what has been the difference? Age certainly plays an important role, as does experience, and practice. But at the core, I think my little girl finally realizes that when she goes under the water, she will come back up. She recognizes that once under, she can push off of the bottom and swim to the surface. She now has the confidence to let go. To let go of the float. To let go of the noodle. To let go of the fear.
Watching her overcome this fear she had of sinking, made me think about periods in my life when I felt submerged. At times, I genuinely feared I may never surface again. I wondered if I would ever smile, laugh or feel joy. I worried that because life would never be the same, that it would never again be good. Thankfully, I was wrong. I remember emerging from the depths with that first genuine smile and being surprised by it. I remember vividly the first time I surfaced laughing. I remember cresting the water and inhaling deeply with the profound realization that there is still life to live and beauty to behold.
Sinking to the bottom is lonely and terrifying. It’s so easy to feel stuck there, unsure of what to do next, convinced we’ll remain submerged. But just like my little girl, we can use the bottom as a springboard to the top. It’s not easy, and it will always take time. But to begin our ascent, we must choose to believe deep in our soul that God is not done, and that He will redeem. We must decide to believe that we will emerge from these depths. We must let go of the fear. Only then will we rise.