It was easy to pick out our grandson in the line-up of swimmers. The eight-year-old wore a life jacket and was a foot or two shorter than the others. Like those ahead of him, he waited for his turn to try the obstacle course that stretched the length of the pool.
Large blue and grey inflatable tubes, eighteen inches in diameter and two to three feet long, were attached in parallel and perpendicular configurations with a slide at the far end. I watched one swimmer after another attempt to walk on water over this deceptively simple looking course. Nearly every person ended up losing their balance and falling in.
Then it was our grandson’s turn. He dog-paddled out to the first tube and pulled himself onto it. Gingerly, he got to his feet. He paused for a moment then stepped slowly onto one tube then another. When he felt his body waver, he paused until he regained his balance. Then moved on, stepping and pausing from one tube to the next until he scrambled up and slid down the slide at the end.
When he got out of the pool, Fred gave him a high-five.
“How’d you do it?” we asked.
“I got real still inside me,” he replied.
The eight-year-old’s words were just what I needed to hear. In the course of my day, I tackle one obstacle, and before I recover my balance, I’m onto the next. Perhaps that’s why, at day’s end, I feel overwhelmed and just want to watch TV and eat.
What if I paused and got real still before moving onto the next thing in my day? Would it really make a difference?
Well, it’s working for our grandson.
I have stilled and quieted my soul.
–Psalm 131:2a (NIV 1984)
Questions for your Lenten pilgrimage:
- When was the last time you were still?
- How did it feel?
- What would it be like to return there regularly?
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Any social worker that is willing to do research in the area of shame and vulnerability, face her own stuff and talk about it has been up to much love mischief! Brené Brown is that person. I just watched her talk, “The Anatomy of Trust.” So helpful. Catch her Ted talks here. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Brené Brown, you’re my hero.”