Wednesday, August 18, 2010

One for the kids

Today, as I was passing off my skills to renew my LGT (that's lifeguard lingo for all 'yall that don't know), I became frustrated when I couldn't manage a spinal head hold. It goes like this:

The victim has hit his head, and is at the bottom of the pool. Without the aid of a tube, the rescuer must go to the bottom, grab the victim head first, and swim to the surface.

To the outside observer, it doesn't look hard. Yet, for the life of me I couldn't drag 185 pounds to the surface. Over and over, I would grab the victim by their head only to get a few feet up and not have the strength to kick anymore.

When I finally got the victim above the surface, I couldn't move. It almost seemed like nature was working against me. The more furious my kicks became, the slower I moved. Even my attempts to keep the victim's head above water were foiled when I couldn't keep the weight from sinking my head under.

Today, I was a failure of a lifeguard.

Sometimes in life, I kick so hard that my emotional and spiritual muscles strain. I want to move, but there are weights that make me feel like I haven't covered any distance. And  then, when suddenly I make five or ten yards, I realize there are a thousands of miles left to go.There are times that I work so hard to keep others from drowning, that I let myself slip under the water.

At the same time, I know these are weights that I've strapped into myself. If only I could let them loose. If only. They seem to be embedded in my skin. Removal is a painful process.

It's like when I'm trying to teach a child how to float. Generally, the first hundred times or so all of their muscles tense up and they sink. Even though breathing is such a simple, involuntary task, I have to teach it. I have to tell them over and over "take a deep breath, and relax". And then, there's that moment where they realize all they need to do is fill up their lungs will sweet air.

I'm relearning how to float on the river of life. We'll see how it goes.

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