This blog recounts my fitness journey into the sport of triathlon and the gifts God has blessed me with while on it! May the movements of my life boldly proclaim that the sparks we encounter in scripture will kindle hope in our lives!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Memorial Weekend Swim


Late Saturday morning, Bobber Bill was taking us on a tour of the Camp Lebanon footprint for the future. There were about 10 or so adults headed out just before lunch.

We headed out to begin our tour at one end of the zip line. It’s more than 300 feet long and about 100 feet in the air. It wasn’t operational yet. We could see workers across the way and knew that they were finishing up to have everything in place for the opening event and first ride next weekend. We wound around the newest camp acreage and explored the sites of the new tubing hill, future ball fields, additional housing and the RV Park.  We headed into a more wooded area and I could see we were coming out on the other end of the zip line. We had to step carefully and watch for branches in our faces before we came to a clearing right at the zip line platform. I had to maneuver around some construction debris and then I pressed in with the group so I could hear Bill speaking, but I didn’t hear a word he said. As I lifted my eyes to observe the work on the zip line I felt my stomach drop.

The man I saw made my knees go weak-literally. He had short dark hair and filled out the black t-shirt and jeans he wore with a very masculine build. I could see a tattoo around his left bicep. I couldn’t breathe.

The men working on the platform kept working as Bill talked and asked Tattoo Guy a question. He answered, his voice tinged with some sort of accent.

I began to panic. Alarm bells started going off in my head and I began to back away from the group. I prayed that no one could see what was going on inside of me. I slowly turned onto the path we’d be headed down next, crushing within myself the desire to run down it-away from Tattoo Guy.

I really was unprepared to deal with that element of living. It scared me! That hasn’t happened to me in many years. Not to mention, I was at family camp! We do “family stuff” with other families all weekend. I’m supposed to be safe there. I let my guard down. I didn’t expect the slimmest potential for a weak-kneed moment!

Still, I didn’t give Tattoo Guy much thought as the weekend continued. I asked God to help me sort my reaction out later and I was choosing to rest in the fact that He would. I wanted to enjoy the rest of the weekend. We came back from our tour and had a great lunch that I didn’t have to prepare. I enjoyed some time papermaking while the girls were off playing foursquare and carpetball with friends.

Saturday afternoon was my first opportunity for a swim.

I’d gone back and forth all morning in my head. Should I or shouldn’t I try a swim in open water? There would be a lifeguard. I might be the only adult swimming. It’s pretty cold. Is it too cold? Would it be foolish? Will I be a spectacle? What would people say?
I had become pretty comfortable in the pool. I even swam all the time in the lap lane now! In the end I really couldn’t resist the opportunity to get in the water. I had to try it.

The girls and I got changed and left our room in the chalet in record time. The beach was packed! Not an adult near the water. No adult was even pretending to think about going in the water, but the kids were all playing in the sand and splashing a bit along the shoreline. Some kids were out enjoying the slide in the deeper water. Only a couple of moms had suits on-with shorts, of course.

There I stood with my towel around my waist, swim cap and goggles in hand. It took me a few minutes to gain some courage! I put sunscreen on the girls and chatted with a few of the ladies who asked me if I was really going to swim. Looking around me, I almost talked myself out of it, I could go tomorrow.

What if the weather was bad tomorrow?  I stepped into the water-it really was cold. Then I remembered why I was on the journey I was on. I had lived most of my life waiting for “tomorrow’s” opportunities instead of enjoying the chances I have every today to live life.

I didn’t want to let this opportunity slip away! This was an opportunity to try something just because I could. I had been working hard physically and emotionally so that when I encountered moments just like this one I would be ready to jump. My heart really wanted this!

I put on my swim cap and goggles and I turned to place my towel on the retaining wall at the top of the beach. As I turned back from doing that, there he was, Tattoo Guy, looking right at me from the end of the beach. Mortified, I wanted to dig a hole in the sand and crawl in!! For a split second I almost turned back around to grab my towel up and find an excuse to flee.

Time stood still as I felt a steeliness climbing up my spine.

A man that I’m attracted to only has the power over me that I choose to give him. I can choose to allow no one, no baggage, no insecurities or fears of my own about what someone else thinks about me, to keep me from doing the things in life that I desire to do-that God has called me to!

I squared my shoulders to the water while taking a deep breath and began to pick my way through the sand toys and kids. I prayed that I wouldn’t be distracted or intimidated by Tattoo Guy and that I wouldn’t die of shock in the cold water. I stepped into the water and kept on going up to my chest. It was freezing!! I splashed some over my shoulders and pushed off the bottom into a glide. I began to swim.

There just aren’t words to describe how wonderful it felt.

And I didn’t see Tattoo Guy again all weekend. Thank God.

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