“And though your beginning was small, your latter days will be very great.” Job 8:7
I’ve always wanted to learn the different swimming strokes, but the fear of trying something new prevented me from exploring the techniques of swimming. Recently, I’ve been working on fighting fear, though. That is how I found myself in the swimming pool with fourteen other adults and a swim coach all of whom I had never met before.
The first lesson of swimming is learning to breathe. Now I’m not scared of the water so sticking my head under isn’t a difficult task, nor is holding my breath, breathing out through my nose or taking deep breaths right above the water’s surface. However, half of my class were afraid of many of these tasks.
Hanging onto the wall the coach asked us to practice holding our breath for ten seconds while putting our face into the water. Obediently I followed the directions given. As I began to watch other members of my group facing their fears of putting their faces down into the water, I remembered my children as they learned to do the same thing during their swimming lessons as toddlers. My daughter was a fish, but my son had ear issues which made swimming sometimes painful and not so fun. Putting his face in the water was a challenge.
I took a deep breath before putting my face back into the water. I thought about how all swimmers start with this one simple step. Even the Olympic swimmers we’ve watched breaking records and winning medals this last week began with this one act. Holding their breath with their face in the water. It was a beginning that led to great achievements.
As my daughter started high school this week and my son will start college next week, I’ve been reflecting on small beginning steps. Breaking each new beginning into bite sized pieces has helped me overcome some of the fear that has surfaced with change. The pieces have been very basic like walking through the school doors, getting registered and attending classes. They are the small steps that will get my teens started. If those beginning steps aren’t taken, they will never succeed to graduation, for sure.
With the changes in my children’s lives I’ve challenged myself to seek out some of my dreams and take some beginning steps, too. Being able to go to a pool and swim laps is one of my dreams. Using my writing to advance God’s kingdom is another. My beginning steps for these dreams include signing up for swimming lessons and calling my church to volunteer for writing on the church’s blog. Each of these are basic steps that will help me get started in pursuing my dreams. I have no idea what will come of either of these areas, but if there is never a beginning there will never be a dream accomplished.
As I climbed out of the pool after my first swimming class, I walked out with a woman who was giddy about her accomplishment. When we opened the door to leave, she looked at me with a huge smile on her face and said, “I’ve never put my face in the water before. I’m going to learn how to swim.” I gave her a gentle hug and told her, “Great job!”
Climbing into my car I told myself the same thing. “Great job, for taking that first step.” This is the beginning of something great.