What are you living for? I ask myself as I watch the swim teacher make the frowns leave the little faces. She sits on the edge, my littlest girl, still unsure of what this class will hold for her. I understand her feelings as I think about my life. I feel like I’m on the edge sometimes….just about to jump in, but something is holding me back. Her toes brush the water, rippling. The teacher says kick, and they all kick. My girl does it begrudgingly. The teacher says jump in like grasshoppers, and I watch each little one jump hard until mine. She jumps out of obligation, but she is jumping after all. The teacher is firm, yet kind; fun, yet serious about this task at hand. Hmm. I’m starting to squirm too.
My eyes swing to the other side of the pool where Daughter #3 has graduated to the older class. She is grinning. Not only has she graduated Kindergarten, but now she is in the big kid swim class. I see her laughing at something her teacher says and then she jumps in and swims across doing exactly what he says. I watch in wonder. She is loving this. The teacher shows her how to move her arms in the free-style stroke and she begins to swim that way. She giggles as he shows her the “froggy kick” and they all try it. I catch her eye, and she gives me a little wave with sparkling eyes. She is delightedly obeying the teacher and loving it.
I ponder. I treasure this moment. I know I have been both these girls with my Teacher. A wise mentor in my life gave me a word of advice when I was struggling about my vocation….what am I to be doing at this moment? He said, “You aren’t just a tool for God. God wants you to be, to live.” I went over and over that. It goes along this other question of what am I living for. In living, in being, I relate to my Creator, my Teacher, my Lord, my Friend.
It’s easier to fill out the checklist. To have three things to a new marriage or four ways to a new family or these steps to being more missional. And then I can either jump in willingly or begrudgingly. I like lists anyways. I love making a check mark and crossing it out. Yep, I do both.
What does it mean to really live? My heart is beating. I’m breathing in and out.
There really are seasons of delight and seasons of begrudging. There are moments when we jump in and when we ripple the water with our toes. At times we are motivated by fear; others when we are motivated by love. When can we stake our claim that we are really living?
Swim class is winding down, and I notice that both my girls are responding to the teachers. They are both listening. They are present in the moment…like it or not.
I know I am deeply connected to God in Christ. I cannot function without this relationship. This is a transformational (changing me always) kind of relationship. I wonder. Am I listening? Am I present in the moment? Is this the key? There I go looking for the answer again.
Swim lessons over, we make a nail salon out of our living room. Toes, clippers, colors everywhere. Oh, and don’t forget the smell. “Why are your feet so calloused and cracked, Mom?” They are so honest. “They’ve been walking longer than yours. Also, too much barefoot walking, not enough lotion.” I work on my feet. I paint tiny toenails. I help clip. “How can you paint so well, Mom? I wish I could.” “You will.” I look around at these little women. I say, “I used to think my mom’s feet were gross too. I thought to myself, my feet will never get like that!” My oldest says with a chuckle,”Guess you were wrong.” “Yes, I was wrong,” I say.
I ponder again: Living. Live. Be alive. Be.
“The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.” John 1:4 NLT