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by Heather Porazzo
He couldn’t feel the bottom and suddenly he felt like he was drowning. That’s when the panic set in. Despite all of his kicking and splashing he moved only inches, but it was enough to bang his hand against the edge of the metal ladder. It hurt, but the pain was lost in that moment of hope. He could sense something to hold on to! He grabbed hold of the pool’s ladder and frantically pulled himself to it. He coughed out water that had been seasoned with chlorine and sunblock. At last he felt safe and could wipe his eyes dry. That’s when he turned on me.
My son, Jack, was mad, very mad, and he refused to try again. I felt for him. Learning to swim is never easy. But I was there, all along, and I would never let him drown. I had him. He may not have felt that he was safe, but I was keeping him close to me, and under my full protection.
I asked him, “Do you not trust me? I am here with you.”
After a moment of hesitation he said, “I trust you, but I am scarred.”
“Don’t be afraid. I am with you and nothing bad will happen to you. Now try again. You can do it.”
How many times in my own life have I felt this way? Scared, out of control, or like all was lost? God was and is there for me too, in my life watching over me. He may be out of my reach, or so it feels like that, but he is with me the whole time. With God as my guardian I will not go under. It is in those moments that I just have to have faith, maybe even tread water if that is all I can do at the time, and know that he is with me.
I don’t like to see my son in discomfort, but I know that at times, it is necessary for him to endure it so that he can grow, become stronger and more able. As soon as he decided to trust me, he was better able to deal with his discomfort, making learning to swim less stressing.
In my life, I have learned that when I surrender, and make the choice to feel more faith than fear, I am better able to endure my own challenges. In the end my son knowing how to swim itself, will be a tool for his protection, for should he ever fall into deep water, because he was willing to trust me, he will know how to swim, and in the face of real danger, he will be able to save himself or maybe someone else.
I stand only a few feet away as I watch my son desperately trying to work out the doggie paddle. He is definitely going to get some water up his nose this time, I think. I can tell he hates this. He doesn’t even like to get his face wet. But he is paddling towards me, and just before he reaches my outstretched arms, I take a step back, lengthening the distance he must go. I don’t know if he hears me over all of the splashing, but I say to him, “Keep going son. You can do it. I am right here.” And he keeps on, because he trusts that I really am.
© 2011 Heather Porazzo