They love to swim and I wanted to join them. This strong group of men and women swim a mile along the ocean shore in Maui. I’ve been swimming a lot at home so while I knew I wouldn’t be in front of the pack, I was hoping I’d be able to keep up.
They leave at 7 am every morning, so I drank my coffee and finished up my quiet time. I was ready. I’d already swam with them once, but I’d worn fins and the dang things hurt my feet, my back and my confidence.
This time I would swim au naturel…. only in the sense of fins though. Rest assured all body parts were dutifully covered by full bathing suit attire.
I slid into the cool water and donned my goggles. I started, hoping to get a bit of a head start before the rest of the crew caught up. It didn’t take long. My friend KC is an olympic swimmer, having participated as a young guy in the 1976 Montreal olympics. His strokes are long and elegant and steady. He swam right beside me, a little to my right. I felt good that I was keeping pace.
A quarter mile into the swim, I glanced back over my shoulder to see him turning around. No, wait, not turning. Doing a full circle so that he could continue to stay just to the back right of me.
He could have easily blown by me. Shown off his olympian in front of all. But he chose to circle so that he would keep pace with me – so I wouldn’t be last and feel left behind. He was looking out for me.
As I swam, I smiled. Which honestly is a bit awkward when you’re trying not to suck in salt water. That’s a good friend, I thought. He could have led the pack. He could have left me in the surf… but he didn’t. He kept pace with me and made me feel like I belonged.
Gosh I want to do that. I want to be thoughtful enough to walk with people exactly where they are. Never running ahead to prove myself, just right alongside – in whatever area of life God has allowed me to love. As a parent, a friend, a fellow believer, another human.
May it be so…