watching the pool…

That saying originated in my high school days. Swimming was my sport growing up, but I put it on the shelf when I began high school. Due to my beloved Coach Spellman’s relentless nagging encouragement to convince me that I was essential, I dusted off my tank suit and joined the BHS team. He was quite the motivator.  I wasn’t really …essential that is, but I am thankful for his persistence in compelling me to do so, because I actually loved it!   My dear Lane #1 mates provided me with precious chlorine-filled memories of aquatic camaraderie.

Unfortunately pools weren’t a commodity back in the day, so there was only one in the vicinity that several area schools had to share. I think the coaches drew straws for practice time slots. Ours was the last one of the evening. I think our practice started at 8:30 or 9:00 at night.  That was the 2nd least desirable time period…the first being in the morning  before school.  No high school girl wants to go to school looking like a wet pet! So there was a measure of thankfulness for our evening rendezvous time.

Swimming was also a winter sport. Even though the pool was inside and supposedly heated, it was frigid….like Arctic frigid…like hypothermia frigid! The air surrounding the pool was warm and foggy, but I literally wouldn’t have been surprised if I had to break ice off the surface to dive in. After about 10 or so laps, you would warm up, but until you did…..BRRRRRRRR. I think the only thing worse than being cold is being wet and cold. I had to face that demon every night. So I devised a system that worked for me. I called it watching the pool. I would go extra early and just sit on the nearby bleachers fully wrapped in sweats and layers and just stare at the pool watching other people practice. Maybe I was actually in the zone before it was cool.  I would anticipate the laps I would have to swim before I would warm up. I would visualize the whole process of going through the motions and psyche myself up to actually get in. I had to go through this routine every single time to make myself be able to dive in…and it worked.  I came to fully enjoy this interlude as I literally watched the pool.

In many areas of life, I have found myself figuratively watching the pool. As a young mom, I would get up extra early to arm myself with patience and a sense of calm to prepare for the daily onslaught of the tornadic activity of my littles.  As a teacher, I would go in long before my scheduled arrival time to check and recheck my plans and put on my game face for  my students. I could never just walk in and teach. I needed to watch the pool first.

As with so many behaviors that I’ve acquired throughout the years, I am beginning to see God’s fingerprint on them.  It is a need that God created in me.  I find that I am still watching the pool…it has become my daily devotional time each morning. It is the proverbial calm before the storm. It allows me to stare into God’s word to navigate the icy waters of the world.  It helps me to anticipate what I need to remember.  I can visualize my thoughts  which will precede my actions.   Just as I did in high school, I have to go through this routine every single day to be able dive in….and it works.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.            ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

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