Friday, June 15, 2012
My grandmother owned the most awesome swimming pool. She owned an apartment complex in Inglewood, California. Her large apartment was at the front of the complex, the other apartments were near the back, and between them was a large gated garden with a patio and a pool. The patio and pool area was surrounded by large, leafy palm trees and beautiful bird of paradise flowers, and the seating area had cool pool decor, like fishing nets and buoys. When we went to visit her, I could hear people laughing and enjoying the pool. Splash, laugh, splash, laugh. It all sounded wonderful. I wanted to go swimming. I begged and begged to go.
One day, when I was about four, my parents and I were visiting Grandma. My Aunt, Uncle and cousins were visiting too and....wait for it....we were going swimming! In the pool! I was SO excited! I had my suit on and followed my Dad down the long path, through the gate to the pool area. He opened the gate, and there it was...the beautiful sparkly blue pool! I couldn't wait...I ran towards it, so excited...and jumped in! Splash! I can remember hearing yelling as I was running, 'Stop!' and, "Paul, stop her!" but...I was four. I didn't know how to swim. And now, in the water, I realized I didn't know what to do next. I'd only heard the splashing and laughter, I'd never actually watched anyone swim. So I came up to the surface and as my head popped above the water, I could hear yelling. My Grandma yelled, 'Paddle!' and I heard another splash. I tried to think, as I sunk back into the water what 'paddle' meant and tried to do it. But it wasn't helping much. And so as I bobbed back up, I realized that while splashing was fun, the whole pool thing was maybe not so fun, and As i began to sink again, I got a little scared, and just then, two big strong arms wrapped themselves around me, and my Dad lifted my head out of the water....and even though I was scared, I smiled and was happy because I could feel the safety of his arms around me,
Now I will tell you something I have learned about myself since that day. I have learned this because I have asked and my Heavenly Father has shown it to me. And I have learned from the insight. First, I learned that that entire scene had been played out before in my life. Not in my life on this earth, but in my life before I came to the earth. My pre-earth life. In our pre-earth life, we learned about the great Plan of Happiness. How we would come to earth, gain a mortal body, learn and be tested. And we learned that hopefully we would make wise choices, that would allow us to return and live with our Heavenly Father. The scriptures tell us we shouted for Joy at the thought of coming here to earth. I recall my pre-swimming pool self, and I know that my pre-earth life self was much the same...I was excited! I wanted to come here...I was eager for life on this earth. What's more, as I was surrounded by my Heavenly Father's perfect Love, I had perfect confidence in my ability to swim. I knew God loved me, and would help me and I knew I could gain instruction about what to do. And so I couldn't wait to be here on this earth.
So now, here I am in this big, glorious pool called life. Sometimes we splash and play. Life is fun, we're enjoying ourselves. We have learned to swim. I've learned to plan, to dive correctly, to be careful. Those lessons have made the experience better, more enjoyable. And other times, I discover that I'm in over our head, I don't know how to swim, my arms are growing heavy and I am sinking. But I wanted to be IN the pool! I'm almost ready to sink again. And that is when the joyous miracle happens: I have learned that when I do the best I can, and then ask for His help, my Savior makes up the difference. He brings peace to my weary soul. He lifts me up so my head is above the water and I can feel the sunshine on my face. It is at those moments, when I rely on Him most, that I feel the warmth of His arms, and it gives me Joy.
Behold the outstretched hands of Christ, Our Lord, who came to save.
Whose love and grace redeem our souls and lift us from the grave.
Though bruised and battered as we stray, His guiding hands caress.
He washes and anoints with oil,
Then in His arms we rest.
Behold His wounded hands and feet! Come touch, and see and feel
The wounds and marks that you may know His love for you is real.
Then as you fall to worship Him and wash his feet in tears,
Your Savior takes you in his arms
And quiets all your fears.
(from Behold the Wounds in Jesus Hands by John V. Pearson and David R. Naylor)
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