I used to be a jump in the pool with both feet kind of girl, but now I find myself entering slowly. While that change causes me to pause, what I have found is entering the pool slowly leaves room for reflection. Have you ever noticed the ripples of a water that occur when something disturbs the smooth surface? Even the littlest of disturbances cause infinite ripples, such as a toe dipping in to test the water. As I sat at the edge of the pool, my toes getting accustom to the cool water, I watched the gentle ripples move along the water and considered the past couple of months, couple of years. I wonder sometimes as I work for the kingdom of God if what I do makes a difference. I am no Billy Graham (although wouldn’t that be fun?) or Rob Bell who preach the gospel in such compelling ways that they have hundreds of thousands of people listening and following them. I am no Mother Teresa or Martin Luther King Jr. who work tirelessly for the poor and oppressed. I am me, the toe dipper.
As I entered the pool more deeply I noticed that the ripples were not so gentle, bigger and with more impact. This, of course caused me to ponder once again but more about how people enter life, live life and the impact they have on those around them. I am pretty sure each of the people mentioned above were people fully immersed in their calling and the ripples they left are long lasting. As I began to swim laps, of course the water is agitated but I was swimming laps, so there wasn’t much reflection going on. Until the noise started. The jackhammer noise. Now, I swim because I love being in the water and it is so very peaceful. It had been a long day that particular day and being in the pool is what I looked forward to all day. The jackhammer going off was not welcome in the least.
Ever feel like you are going about you life and suddenly the noise of the world is drowning out any real thought or ability to enjoy where you are? That is what I realized that afternoon in the pool. Life had gotten too noisy. These peaceful 30 minutes I was spending in the pool was my way trying to get the stillness of life back, but it was completely interrupted by the jackhammering happening 4 floors down! Their actions impacted my peace. Ripples.
I tried to swim underwater to drown out the noise, and it helped a little bit, but not completely. Well, it helped the work out and provided me with my favorite feeling in the world; being surrounded and held by water.
We are embarking this year on a Year of Service—a year dedicated to our neighbors near and far. Some of us will dip our toe in and other will jump in with both feet. What that day at the pool reminded me is that each type of person has an impact. So whether you choose to visit someone on a regular basis or raise millions of dollars for a worthy cause, each is important and each will impact lives is ways we will never know. After all, the construction guys fixing the parking garage had no idea they were disturbing my peaceful swim.
And when the noise of life and the pressure of being a follower of Christ becomes to much, the Body of Christ is here, gathering every week to praise God and support each other. To be strengthened for the work they are called to do—toe dipper and jump right inner alike. Just like being under water helped dim the noise of those pesky jackhammers and remind me of my favorite place, the Body of Christ reminds us that we are surrounded and held by God and for a little while the noise of the world is dimmed.
It is my hope that as we begin this new year, we all find ways that serve our neighbor that stretch us and that give us hope for the world. If Jesus is our guide, how can it be anything but? Looking forward to serving with and for you.
Photo credit: Jess Loughborough on Flickr