I was 110 ft. down under the water with a can of air strapped to my back.
The current was formidable and as a relatively new diver, I was struggling.
Tom taught scuba and was an experienced diver.
Following behind him, I tugged on his fin to get his attention and let him know I was having a challenging time.
To be challenged that far below the surface is not ideal,
to say the least.
I was using all of the tools in my “keep calm” toolbox to keep panic at bay.
I needed Tom’s help to reassure me,
to model non-panic,
and to give me the help I needed.
I knew that Tom would tell me to keep going, then ask if I was okay.
He did both, which eased my fear… somewhat… and I gave the okay sign back to him.
He wasn’t scared, no one else in the group seemed to be having problems,
so I told myself I could continue.
Well…. that didn’t last very long… AT ALL.
110 ft. of water!
The only air available to me was strapped to my back!
I was struggling against a current and getting tired.
I could feel the fear rising and knew that I needed help.
I tugged on Tom’s fin again and gave the sign that I needed to go up.
He saw the fear in my eyes and motioned that it would be okay.
He went to the dive guide and let him know.
The dive guide came to help.
When the dive guide reached me, he took my hand
and placed it on the mountain of coral reef we were swimming around.
He motioned for me to hold on, then went to gather the other divers so that
we could begin making our ascent.
Needless to say, I was embarrassed, feeling like the wimpiest of wimps, and feeling guilty
for ending early a dive everyone had paid good money for.
When we got to the dive boat I apologized.
I was offered much grace as others said that they were glad the dive ended.
They said that they were struggling too.
The dive guide said that he hadn’t been in that kind of current in a while.
One of the most helpful lessons in scuba and life is the lesson of looking small.
When the dive guide placed my hand on the coral, I stopped struggling against the current,
and I stopped looking at the enormity of the ocean and the 110 ft. of water separating me from all the air I could possibly want. I stopped being engulfed by all that I could not control.
Instead, I focused on the coral reef in front of me.
I focused on the colors, I focused on the shapes.
I looked small.
It was one step that changed the moment.
It was one step that opened the door of calm to my fears.
It was one step that made all the difference.
In the Disciplines devotion for Wednesday, author Angela Schaffner offers this thought
regarding the high bar of Proverbs 31:
“…consider what your one part in the collective calling could be and how you could take one step today
to live that out.
Release yourself from the unrealistic expectation of being every part of this calling at once.”
Her point is well made in that, when we reach on our own for that high bar of
loving God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength,
or knocking all 9 fruits of the Spirit out of the park,
or loving with all the 1 Corinthians 13 boxes checked,
or being that superwoman in Proverbs 31 so that those who know us will rise up to call us blessed,
well… Lord have mercy… that is a strong current to swim against.
It is better and healthier to realize that we are not called to do this alone.
We are one part in the collective calling, one person in the community of faith.
In our collective, in our community, in our connection, there are many with us on this journey.
There are others we can turn to who are more experienced.
There are people who care about us ready to help.
There are gifts and resources waiting to be accessed.
And, there is God.
What a wonderful reminder to not look at the enormity of all that is
as if it all belongs to and is up to us alone, but to look small instead.
To look small at the one step we can take today.
What one step today will honor God, honor this call, honor the gifts entrusted to us,
in this moment in this season of our journey?
Perhaps our one step is asking for the help we need,
or letting someone who is struggling know that we are struggling too,
or helping someone focus on the small good before them,
or offering the wisdom of experience to lead others to a stronger place.
We aren’t called to be it all and do it all, all of the time.
We are called to take the next one step of faith, in faith,
knowing that God goes with us.
Taking the next step with you and thankful for you,
If you would like to view past editions of Grace for the Journey, follow this link: https://fairwaydistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/