In this age of “new normal”, one of the joys my bride and I are currently experiencing is the presence of our oldest granddaughter, who has come to visit with us for an extended stay of about five weeks this summer.
We have enjoyed doing different things with her during the first weeks of her stay. For example, this 12-year-old has been taking a weekly golf cart ride with her Grandpa to visit the various Dunkin Donuts outlets in the area.
Those extended rides have been a lot of fun for both her AND her Grandpa.
Another activity we have introduced to our granddaughter is golf. In our community there are many golf courses, but one in particular has become a special, regular attraction. It is a miniature golf course that has real grass, real greens, and real “fairways”. We have made playing this course a weekly ritual as well.
But one of our granddaughter’s favorite activities while visiting here has been going swimming in one of the almost 100 swimming pools in our community. Several times a week we will take her either via car or golf cart to one of those pools and for about two hours or so enjoy swimming there. And almost every time we are swimming there, another grandma or grandpa are also there with their grandchildren.
Even in a socially-distancing environment, this makes for a refreshing and enjoyable pastime for all, and it is a great way to meet our neighbors!.
Just the other day, my bride and I were in the pool swimming with our granddaughter when a grandmother came with her granddaughter and began swimming in the shallow end of the pool. I immediately got excited because I was thinking that this youngster would be a great swimming “buddy” for our granddaughter – and would give Grandpa (that’s me!) a break from being dunked and all that goes with that.
Sure enough, it did not take our granddaughter long to make a new friend. After frolicking in the shallow end of the pool for a bit, our granddaughter, being the “fish” that she is, encouraged her new friend to swim out to the deeper end of the pool, only to discover that this new friend was not quite so advanced in her skills at swimming, and was deathly afraid of the deep water.
In fact, she got out of the pool, walked down to the deep end (only five feet at its deepest!), and sat stubbornly on the side of the pool, scared to death to jump in.
Not until her Grandma had extended her hand to the little girl did she trust her enough to jump into the deep water, holding onto Grandma’s hand as she did.
I cannot help but see a spiritual parable in this little episode.
It seems that there really are a couple of significant principles that we can draw out of this little incident – principles that apply to all of our lives, no matter how young or how old, and principles that we can appropriate for whatever life situation in which we find ourselves, even (especially?) in this COVID-19 environment in which we find ourselves these days:
1) Life is scary. Like Don Quixote, we are often called upon to climb high mountains, conquer unbeatable foes, and do difficult things. Life – daily life – presents us with difficult decisions, and seemingly insurmountable obstacles to overcome, like bills to pay, kids to raise, and – well, life to live. If we are not careful such decisions could paralyze us and freeze us in a position of inactivity and fear.
2) Life is a Team Effort. Often times, we think we are in it all alone. We believe that no one else is experiencing life in exactly the same way we are. But the truth of the matter is, that just is not so. Seldom do we find ourselves in a situation which someone else has not experienced before us. It is easier to do the task of living if we know others are there experiencing it with us as we go.
3) Life is Lived Individually. Just like this little girl jumping into the deep water, we must each live our lives individually. We cannot expect someone else to live our life for us, to make our decisions for us, to accept the responsibility for our behavior for us. And, ironically, even though others may complete the task successfully, I still have to jump!
4) Life is Filled with God-Moments! Just like the little girl could see and hear others encouraging her to jump, and even see her Grandma extending a hand for her to hold on to, so too, those who follow Jesus will be able to see His fingerprints on all that they encounter each and every day. We can depend upon Him to be there, no matter what the scary circumstance we are facing in our daily living, even if all we can grab on to is a tiny finger!
5) God Being There is Enough! All I need to successfully jump into the pool of life is to know my Savior won’t let me down, won’t forget about me, and is able to save me if I need Him to. When Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” He was not kidding!
I felt for that little girl in the pool. I felt for her, because when I was her age, I WAS her! I too was scared to death to jump into the deep water.
All I can say is – NOT ANY MORE!
What about you?
God bless …
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.