One of my most enjoyable outdoor experiences as a kid was swimming at our local community pool. As far back as I can remember, my summers were spent either at the baseball field or at the pool and both were within one block of each other. I lived about two miles from this area but it was well within the allowed distance for my bicycle. Even as a 10 or 11 year old I was making this trip several times a week. I can even remember my dad teaching me how to swim. He did it the old fashion way – encouraged me to jump, and then admonished me to swim or drown. Well it may not have been that bad but I do remember choking, spitting and flailing until I realized I was only in four feet of water.
As a teenager the pool was the summer hangout. We learned new dives, listened to the great music of the 70s, and tried to impress the girls. They spent as much time lying in the sun as they did swimming. It was the radio announcer that gave them their cue to turn or burn. It was the boys who thought the best thing we could ever be ask to do was apply suntan lotion to one of those bathing beauties. No generation will ever have it that good. Bell-bottoms, Earth shoes, leisure suits and Led Zeppelin. Those were the days of my youth and the pool was a big part of it.
It seems there are certain accomplishments that bring about a great sense of confidence and independence. They lead to other undertakings that do the same and eventually to things that really matter. As an early youth, swimming and learning to ride a bike were two of the things that seemed to add something to me that I knew would stay. I think learning to catch a fish and shoot a gun could also be added to that category. All of these built a case within me that, first of all, said I could survive and second of all, said that I need to hesitate before I say I can’t do something that looks too difficult.
I’m not sure how you were raised or what accomplishments you would add to your treasure chest of memories but I know there are certain things that either built within you a “can” spirit or a “can’t spirit. You are still drawing from this well. Sometimes the well is so full of good help that you can easily draw from the top and other times it seems that it is empty of anything useful in the situation you are presently in. What I do know is this; there is a great encouragement for the follower of Christ. Paul, the writer of the letter to the Philippians, said this, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” So when your well seems to be empty of encouragement for the next great task, draw from His, it was put there for you.