For seven years I spent time in a pool almost every day.
And then I stopped.
I don’t even remember why.
I’m sure life got busy…there were friends to hang out with, boys to giggle about, and places to go.
Recently my husband mentioned training for a mini-triathlon and I agreed. The other night we went to the pool and I swam laps like I’d never missed a day.
I loved it all again…the quiet swoosh of the water, finding the right moment to breathe, the uneasy grace of a flip-turn.
I’d felt sad earlier that day. But after I swam, I was happy again. Giddy, almost.
On the way home I talked about summers at the pool with friends, swim meets, days I hadn’t thought of in years. I drifted off to sleep with the scent of chlorine on my pillow and a smile on my face. And I felt secure.
Why? How in the world could swimming help?
This question brought back one of my favorite passages from The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. In this letter a senior demon is reprimanding a junior one for not tripping up the man to whom he’s assigned…
And now for your blunders. On your own showing you first of all allowed the patient to read a book he really enjoyed, because he enjoyed it and not in order to make clever remarks about it to his new friends. In the second place, you allowed him to walk down to the old mill and have tea there–a walk through country he really likes, and taken alone. In other words you allowed him two real positive Pleasures….
I would make it a rule to eridicate from my patient any strong personal taste which is not actually a sin, even if it is something quite trivial such as a fondness for county cricket or collecting stamps or drinking cocoa. Such things, I grant you, have nothing of virtue in them: but there is a sort of innocence and humility and forgetfulness about them which I distrust.
Sometimes forgetting ourselves is the first step to remembering what (and Who) matters most. Childlike faith, the most self-forgetful kind of all, is so much about joy.
And when we open ourselves to joy, God is likely to walk through (or dive in!) when we least expect Him.
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