“I do! I do!” my daughters would exclaim when they were little and wanted to do something for themselves. Their father and I knew we needed to back off and let them try it on their own, standing at the ready if assistance was needed. These moments came back to me on Labor Day this year, when I had my own “I do!” experience.
Roger, his brother, and I had gone swimming at a local lake, entering the water off a pier where it was too deep to touch bottom. Getting in and swimming around were no problem. Getting out was another matter, as there was no ladder. We were discussing our options (the shore was steep and rocky) when a teenage girl swam over and hoisted herself up onto the dock, ungracefully perhaps, but successfully. As I thought about her technique, a man came by with a large jet ski. Seeing us there, he offered to have us climb onto the back of his jet ski and onto the dock. Roger and his brother immediately accepted the offer and began climbing out of the water.
I, however, had been ruminating about what I would do if the kind stranger had not come along. Was I still capable of getting out on my own? It wasn’t about competing with a young person. It was about my self-sufficiency. I decided to climb out on my own, modifying the young woman’s technique. I was no more graceful, and I wouldn’t call my effort successful either, although I did get out of the water without assistance. Once on the dock, I discovered a large gash on the outside of my left knee that was beginning to bleed, and my right shin had a bad bruise that was already starting to swell. Thankfully Roger had a first aid kit in the car, and three weeks later I’m left wondering how much of a scar I’ll have.
Upon reflection I realize how often I engage in that line of thinking—believing that if it’s to be, it’s up to me. What a disconnect from what I write about week after week! I’m sure the aging process is a factor. We come into the world helpless, and if we’re fortunate enough to live long enough, we pretty much leave the world in a similar state. But aren’t we getting help all along in various forms? Isn’t Spirit, our guardian angel, call it what you will, watching out and providing Divine assistance each step of the way? This incident made it clear to me that as I physically become less able to lift, reach, climb, and so forth, I will not be left unattended. It is not up to me. It was not coincidence that the gentleman had come along. Three of God’s beloveds needed help, so help was provided. Why would I expect anything less?
Let us recognize this fact in all areas of our lives. As we take thoughtful action toward our goals and dreams, it will be necessary for us to be aware of and receive the help we’re given. We’re not capable of doing it alone, and that’s just fine, because we’re not meant to. I’m sure that man felt good about being able to assist us. Thankfully Roger and his brother were astute enough to grant him the opportunity. It’s my intention that next time I will be, too.
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