I am a lap swimmer and have been for 30+ years. It is my refuge, my beautiful place. I swim for health and without it I’m not who I want to be. Other people swim too so the pool is a microcosm of different people interacting. Having to get along even though it’s tight and we swim differently. A pool is like our environment—a place to live and get along. Different people and circumstances are happening at any one time.
Here are some life lessons I have noticed over the years.
In any pool at a given time there are different things going on. There could be lap swimmers; kids having lessons; squad swimmers; then there are the aquarobics ladies. I am, I admit, a bit scared of them. They are strong, forceful and have been known to attack swimmers under the surface, if they come too close and splash their hair! Scary.
Aquarobics life lesson: there may be daunting people in your world who won’t like you just because you are there. Don’t take it personally. Not everyone is your best friend. Everyone’s agenda is their own.
Biblical lesson: Do we have a spirit of fear or love towards others in our world? (See 2 Timothy 1:7.) Let’s love and forgive the unlovely because, let’s face it, we are all trying to live our lives (or use the pool) as best as we can!
Sometimes there are lane hogs in the lap lane who have absolutely no idea that they take up too much room and splash everything and everyone near them. Others taking a breath as that swimmer comes past, beware drinking or drowning! They also hit you with their over-extended strokes as they pass you in the lane and seemingly don’t care. They are generally happy because other swimmers avoid them so they have a lane to themselves. (This is lap heaven).
Life lesson: you can’t change lane hogs and shouldn’t take offence. They have no idea what they are doing above water. Their life is below the surface.
Biblical lesson: others have specks in their eyes which are obvious to us, but we are also ignorant of our own logs as we swim too! (See Matthew 7:3.)
Lap etiquette. This involves waiting at the end until the faster-than-you swimmer arrives to let them go first. This then doesn’t hold the faster swimmer up or pressure you to swim faster if they are behind and gaining on you.
Life lesson: let people be who they are and give them room to develop and grow. They are different to you. Make a decision to get along. We are all in the lap lane of life so let’s make it work.
Biblical lesson: we’re all different and people don’t have to be the same as you. Make room for others. Forgive. (See Luke 6:37.)
Floating for me is one of the best parts of being in the pool. We need to float to swim. It is really the basis of everything to do with lap swimming.
Life lesson: be in the moment and enjoy the moments and the journey. It’s about having a lightness of spirit in life.
Biblical lesson: let go and let God in as we position ourselves in order to be carried and supported. He supports us as we simultaneously get ‘light’ and how wonderful it feels to be carried in order to float. It’s a lightness that can only be explained as you experience it. You HAVE to let go. (See Psalm 46:10.)
The final lap swimming analogy for now, because there are so many more, is chatting. Sometimes the only exercise going on is jaw exercise as groups cluster at the shallow end across or within lanes. As a chatter, it’s important to position yourself on the left, so as not to interfere with the swimmers who are serious die-hards in your lane.
Life lesson: our world, just like the lap lane, is a place of connection in relationships. Sure, there are important things to do, (like getting the right number of laps swum), but without other people it’s all pretty meaningless.
Biblical lesson: our job is to love God, love others and ourselves. In reality, it really is what life is all about even though practical things (like lap swimming) sometimes seem more important. (See Luke 10:27.)
Love, forgive, don’t judge, connect. Lap lanes tell it all.