Floating on Faith by Ronni Walker

I have fallen back in love with swimming after avoiding it for several years. I lost interest in swimming when my daughter almost drowned in our backyard swimming pool. For years, the pool sat quietly beneath the oak trees. I never told anyone, but that incident shook me to my core because for a split second, I lost faith in my ability to save my daughter. I was unable to understand why my only child was fighting the thing that brought light to her eyes. The water had betrayed her. Within that second, I worried that it would betray me too. We both knew how to swim, but for some reason, we took for granted its power, and we became fearful foes when our skills did not overshadow our emotions. Breaking loose from my complacency, I managed to pull her out of the pool. We never used it again.

Now, in an effort to get in shape with minimal impact my knee, I’ve been reacquainting myself with swimming—a love that never escaped me. Regardless of my great love, I face a significant disadvantage—my inability to trust the water. One of the first things a swim coach will tell you is to learn to trust the water because trust is detrimental to success. I started swimming when I was six years old, and my coach would require us to do small exercises so we could learn to trust the water.  We soon realized if you don’t trust the water, you resist it. Your resistance intensifies the task and eventually leads to sinking, choking, or drowning.

During the past few weeks, I’ve become relatively good friends with the water as long as I move forward with my eyes wide open.  I often rest at the end of each lap because I know what could happen if I attempt to finish a lap with tired arms and legs. However, in the midst of my morning routine—exhausted from swimming and out of breath—I decided to backstroke to keep my heart rate up and ease my breathing. As I turned around in preparation of the lap, I remembered the incident, and I briefly gave in to my distrust of the water. I struggled to get through the first lap. Nevertheless, I kept pushing, and with each stroke, the struggle became more intense instead of easier.  I reminded myself that the intensity would make me stronger—just like the struggles we encounter in life—designed to strengthen us in areas where we are weak. With that thought in mind, I forged ahead with great aplomb fully aware that I would reap the reward one day if I worked hard to rebuild the broken trust.

Today, I decided to begin my exercise regimen with the backstroke. My mind was still, so I decided to fall back into the arms of the aqua blue water without overthinking it. I felt the waves encumber my body as I began to reach for the wall behind me. Although my eyes were focused on the ceiling, I pondered on the true meaning of faith. Why do I worry if I have faith? Why do I doubt myself in the presence of faith?  Why do I choose to fight, when I have the option to float? After realizing that swimming and life are much easier when I relax and go with the flow, I felt the coolness of the concrete pool wall on my fingertips. I could hardly believe that I had finished the lap effortlessly because I decided to float on faith.

I let go of my insecurities and my doubts, deciding to fall back onto the waves and reach for a wall that I could not see. Although I could not see it, I knew it was there. I kept reaching. This is an example of what it means to have faith. Faith, in its simplest form, is reaching for something we can’t see, while holding on to the belief that one day the intangible will become tangible.

As you navigate through the pool of life, keep reaching for that thing you can’t see. Relax and float on faith with the assurance that one day, you will reach your wall of possibility.