I came, I swam, I conquered. And it all happens here (although the lap lines in this photo are running in the wrong direction, for some odd reason). I swim in this lap pool and there’s another large pool to its left, with warmer water for different recreational needs.
Here are my Ten Things of Thankful, the thoughts that come to mind as I swim (thanks, Lizzi, for your inspiration, in “Here Be Heroes!“).
I am blessed to live in a resource-rich community that invests in many opportunities for recreation, including 4 public pools. This is where I swim, where I enjoy seeing blacks and whites sharing the same facilities, supervised by black and white lifeguards. Back in the day, I worked hard with others to successfully desegregate a pool in another city. I’ve certainly delighted in using that pool, now full of black and white swimmers!
I enjoy listening to the shrieks of excitement (and just plain shrieks) as busloads of special needs kids swim and splash in the rec pool a few times a week. And three lanes of the lap pool are also used by the more athletic kiddos. It reminds me of teaching special needs kids to swim in San Jose, where the smell of Vidalia onions in nearby farmlands was even stronger than the smell of chlorine. We had a lot of fun, once we got our toes wet.
When I pause to look at the rec pool, I think back to my days after knee surgery. I would wobble on my crutches to the side of the warmer pool, scaring the lifeguards who told me that crutches and wet tiles were a bad combination. Of course I knew that, but how else was I going to get to the pool? My wheelchair was at school since I couldn’t haul it in and out of my car. You know I am grateful to have retired both the crutches AND the wheelchair.
As I swim through thousands of gallons of clean water, I think about the women who spend all day carrying heavy loads of dirty water for cooking and bathing. I’m grateful for organizations like Charity: Water for helping us make changes in the lives of folks who could never imagine having enough clean water for something as nonessential as recreation.
When I’m in the locker room, my heart is overjoyed to hear parents lovingly help their kids wrangle swimsuits and adjust to wet floors, hot showers, and goggles. I listen to the camaraderie of women who participate in aquatic exercises. I watch the swim teams excitedly prepare for practice and meets, all the while texting and talking about school assignments.
My knees and hips are thrilled when I swim. I fantasize about swimming like a dolphin, or swimming in heaven where I’m sure I will be a faster swimmer! I always try to “beat” those who swim within sight of my steamed-up goggles. How wonderful to have found a pair of goggles that actually fit! I pray that the dear lady sharing the lane won’t clobber me as she does a backstroke. I feel the smooth water over every inch of my body, grateful that I am not paralyzed after a dreadful horseback riding accident.
Finally, if I am in a lane by myself, not having to watch out for flaying limbs, I use my swimming time to pray. I thank the One who made me for all those thoughts and experiences which make swimming so special!