The Deep End

My four-year-old niece is learning to swim. 

Riley loves the water, but she is also terrified of it.  On the day of her first swim lesson, she got all gussied up in her bathing suit, bathing cap, and goggles. She looked at her reflection in the mirror and smiled. She was ready!

That smile quickly vanished when she approached the side of the pool and looked at her reflection in the water.  It was all she could do to just dip her toes in that day. 

Fast forward six weeks, and Riley swam – with her face in the water – four feet from the edge of the pool to her teacher’s arms yesterday.  Every step of the process has been agonizing for her, but today she beamed with pride.  With great effort and courage she is gaining the skill that will allow her to one day feel safe in the water. 

I think we’ve all had moments when our anxiety rears up and threatens to get the better of us.  It is what we do in those moments that makes a difference.  Do we face our fear and persevere through it?  Do we find a way to circumvent fear and forge another way forward?  Do we turn away and urge ourselves to just breathe? (Sometimes simply breathing and surviving the moment is the courageous act.) 

“But I can’t breathe under water.” 
True – but what if you can adapt your way of being to accommodate that unfamiliar environment?  What if you have the courage to try and you discover a whole new way of breathing, of moving, of being that allows you to become unafraid? 

What if you learn to swim? 

~ Christiana

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4 Responses to The Deep End

  1. Carol Vey says:

    Love this!

  2. Katrina says:

    There must be a certain way that swim instructors have to get kids used to the water beyond the regular “come on, you can do it”. I would say it’s the knowledge and skill that empowers the swimmer to find confidence under the water ! Its a big deal to learn how to swim. Most people my age don’t have challenges like that because, well , we have come of age and our fears are the story we tell ourselves. I have a fear of heights and public speaking. There is no amount of cajoling that will get me up the ladder or stop me from hyperventilating when I’m in front of a crowd. I could see my shortcomings/and my potential through the lens of this swimming story ( a wonderful story) and hope to replace my fears with a new way of being. Even at my age!

  3. Peggy A says:

    Such a good analogy to many different challenges in life which require courage. Just keep putting your toe in inch by inch and you can meet the challenges of life!

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