This morning at practice, I realized what one of my favorite parts about swimming is. 11 years in the making, but the Ah-hah moment was worth it.
I pushed off on my back at the beginning of our set, and saw my reflection right before I broke the surface of the stilled water.
It’s the moment right before you’re about to take your first stroke. But you can’t see your reflection before that. It is only right before your fingertips leave the surface for air, and the water is no longer still.
Kind of like a mirror, but way better. It’s a shiny reflection of my porcelain skin. I can see the way my body moves through the water for just a moment.
It’s a timing thing, really. If you start your break out too soon, you’ll miss your reflection. If you start it too late, you’ll be kicking at the surface of the water before even taking a stroke (which is a really poor racing strategy).
Still, it’s a beautiful thing to be able to look at yourself from an inch away through a substance like water.
If you know me, you know that swimming takes up a majority of my time. Most practices start before the sun breaks the surface of the horizon. Some practices end right as the sun is setting.
Being a swimmer is not easy. Just like anything in life, it takes a lot of work. You never quite get used to the 5:30 alarm sounding and jumping in the cold pool a short 30 minutes later.
But in the summer, something awesome happens on the mornings when the timing is just right…
The sun begins to break the surface of the horizon, and it lights up the sky little by little.
The light reflects off the clouds, beautifully painting them gold, blue, orange, you name it. All before 6:30 in the morning.
It’s the moment right before the sun peeks itself from the trees. You can’t see the big orange ball of fire yet, but you can already see the light it creates.
It’s like when my fingertips break the surface of the water and the swimming starts.The sun wakes up, peeps itself over the land, and life starts again.
It reminds me of the verse in Lamentations, where God says His mercies are new every morning (v. 23).
His sunrises, His sunsets, His faithfulness, His unwavering love, His grace… they are assurances every morning. They are new every morning. And they are free.
I asked God at the beginning of the summer to teach me, and mold my thinking to His.
For awhile, I thought He was being silent.
But morning after morning, swim after swim, and night after night, I looked at the sky and was in awe of our God, and the creation He was showing off.
I don’t know if they’re any different from summer’s past, or if my eyes are just now being open to another simple, yet faithful work of our Lord.
Over and over again, His love and mercy are new. They begin again.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known
1 Corinthians 13:12
Like my reflection in the water. His reflection of light through the sun. There are reminders of His simple but unchanging love.
A little about Sammie:
living for our Jesus as a daughter, sister, friend, student-athlete, and photo-enthusiast
Yep! That’s all she wrote. Much like her bio, Sammie provides a quiet and spiritual presence in this crazy, noisy world of ours. Sammie’s parents are some of our best friends, and their kiddos are icing on the cake. We all met during summer baseball several years ago when number 10 and number 28 were teammates.
Sammie would often tag along, give her brother some love, and cheer on the Rebels like the supportive big sister she is.
Sammie is one of those women who lights up a space when she enters it. Her kind smile, to-die-for red hair, and sparkly eyes make a person stop in their tracks. Not because of the outside beauty, but because all that inner beauty can’t be contained.
Facts about Sammie you wouldn’t know when you first meet:
- She has competed in the Olympic swim trials – twice! Once as high school athlete, and the second time as a busy Big XII athlete. She didn’t qualify, but did reach a personal PR in the 200 m backstroke this past summer. She also swims the 200 m and 500 m freestyle. Could you imagine swimming in the same meet as Michael Phelps…as a teenager? Sammie did it like everything she does – with grace, bravery, and gratitude.
- Her mama shared with me that she has an amazing faith and is very generous with her sparse free time. She shares her grace and positive spirit with adults and youth through Young Life camps as well as a local camp here in Topeka.
- She says she keeps an extra pair of swim trunks available for my husband. Just in case he puts his money where his mouth is, and decides to do the always-threatened grudge match throw-down swim race in Lake Shawnee (he said the temperature has to be juuuuust right!) Editor’s note: Terry’s don’t swim – we sink – like bowling balls.
- Her personal motto is love and grace, and she says that daily to her family and friends.
Sammie’s heart is my personal post-it note that an individual can be kind, display innocence, and remain positive in an honest and brave way. In a world that seems to be crashing daily with actions soaked in gasoline barrels of hatred, and cruelty, Sammie is a bright beacon whose lights shine to show that not all is lost.
Thank you, Sammie, for sharing your beautiful words with us today. Please visit Sammie at her blog by grace through faith–you can read one of my favorite pieces: the winds and the waves. In addition to writing, she’s a budding photographer and bucket list maker. Give Sammie some sugar in the comments below, you will love this brave girl as much as I do.