“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord save me.’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.” Matthew 14:30-32
The activity of swimming is one of my least favorite things. I had ear infections, after many visits to the pool. My swimming abilities were sub-par. I don’t like swimming. In college, I had to face my fears whether I wanted to or not.
My major in college was Kinesiology, the study of human movement. There was a requirement of taking six different sports classes, one of them being aquatics. I talked to the administrator for my major and asked if I could get around that particular requirement. They said, “if you want to graduate, you must take the class.” Thankfully my best friend, who is like a fish in the water, offered to take it with me and be my support.
The first day of the class came, and I was nervous. The students were waiting out by the pool. An older man drives up in a yellow Corvette, gets out of the car shirtless in swim trunks with a cigar hanging out of his mouth. The man walks up to our group and asks, “beginning swim? I’m Flip, your coach.” First, we took care of the paperwork of people adding the class and straightening out schedule questions. Then he said, “we will start tomorrow, class dismissed.”
Now, I was upset because I was all worked up for and had to put on a bathing suit for nothing. I walked over to Flip and said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think you can teach me how to swim, I am horrible at it, and I hate being in the water.” Flip, took his cigar out of his mouth leaned in and said in a calming voice, “can you give me a chance, my dear? I will not let anything happen to you. But if it doesn’t work out, we will go from there, okay?” And the next day, I did.
Flip had us in the shallow pool, and we got used to the water. We did simple exercises. Then he asked us to all get out and walk over to the Olympic size pool, that was about 16 feet deep. He told us to get into the pool and hold on to the side, slowly let go, and then we will dip below the water, and come back up with our heads above the water, without needing to tread water. And it worked. I couldn’t believe it.
After class, he asked, if I will be okay and I said yes, I would. He told the students to buy some goggles and flippers for the hands to skim across the water. By the end of that same week, I was swimming laps in the Olympic pool. I come to find out; Flip was the coach for Olympic Gold Medalist swimmers Gary Hall Jr. and Amanda Beard. My friend says, “oh my, only you would tell an Olympic Swim Coach, he can’t teach you how to swim.” Yes, I would!
There were two lessons I learned from this experience. Attitude is everything. It was so helpful to have a coach, who listened and acknowledged my fears, but encourage me that I could do it. Flip knew I couldn’t handle hearing, “oh suck it up, you big crybaby!” And how many times, are we faced with something difficult in our lives and we cry out to God, “I can’t do this! Why do I have to be in this situation?” We will have to endure some growing pain and hard times. But God is able; we are capable through Him. God wants us to be victorious! If we aren’t victorious in a particular situation, God had something better meant for us.
Lesson Learned: Let your faith lead you through the difficult times and God will help you figure it out in some way.
“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for not trusting you. Help me to see where you are in difficult times. May the Holy Spirit give me wisdom and knowledge. May my attitude change and learn to build on those positive experiences. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”