A Chorus of Lovely Voices · Guest Posts

sunrise, sundown, swim fast, swim around: A Guest Post by Sammie Schurig

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:

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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.

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Sammie would often tag along, give her brother some love, and cheer on the Rebels like the supportive big sister she is.

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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.

xo

35 thoughts on “sunrise, sundown, swim fast, swim around: A Guest Post by Sammie Schurig

    1. She really does paint a gorgeous picture doesn’t she, Robert? I always love seeing you here and am so thrilled to share words from talented and inspiring writers. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
      Have a great rest of the week!
      Michelle

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Sammie, your writing is as beautiful as your heart! I was right there in the water with you, pulling, remembering what it was to be fit and strong. (When I was young, I swam with our local recreation team, and then a few years of high school. I was not very fast, but enjoyed swimming). Thank you so much for the verse about God’s mercies being new every morning, and for sharing the sunrise. I think of his mercy as being the grace I receive when I let go and get out of the way. Not always easy to do, to know when to give it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Susan,
      I hope you know how thankful I always am for your presence and wisdom. Especially where grace and gratitude is concerned.
      I knew Sammie’s post would resonate. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
      Happy Tuesday 🙂
      Michelle

      Liked by 1 person

  2. One thing I love most about the sun, is, at the same time, it is both rising and setting somewhere in the world.

    Just because we cannot see it, doesn’t mean that someone somewhere is not reveling in its beauty.

    I guess really though, like God, the sun is always there, always constant. It is simply our perspectives changing due to our orbiting around it. The sun is just there shining. Waiting for us to circle back around. Waiting to light up our lives.

    Beautiful post Sammie. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Christy,
      You are my favorite for so many reasons, and the way you read and comment with such thoughtfulness and insight is one of them.
      One thing I love most about the sun, is, at the same time, it is both rising and setting somewhere in the world.
      Oh yes! I always thought it would be so cool to watch the sun rise, and then be fast enough to run to the setting sun on the other side of the world.
      The sun is just there shining. Waiting for us to circle back around. Waiting to light up our lives.
      This should be a mantra or morning prayer. Love, love your perspective…love love YOU!
      xo

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Sammie, I love your description of how you see your face for just that moment. You describe it perfectly and I can picture it so well. Second, I am a sky watcher and your words -“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” -are priceless and true.
    Thank you for a wonderful post!
    xo Joanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Joanne,
      I could see you and Sammie being friends. You both share similar views and gratitude for what’s in front of you. It’s something I’ve always loved about you and definitely what I love about Sammie. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. This morning, I read the few first lines of your latest post before getting interrupted. I’ll be back soon – I need to read more about those open windows 🙂
      xoxoxo
      Michelle

      Like

    1. Hi Helen,
      I hear the same description about the Schurig family every time someone meets them for the first time. I’m so blessed to call Louisa one of my dearest friends.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. As you well know, Sammie is a special young woman 🙂
      Michelle

      Like

  4. Wow, what a journey. Here I was thinking I knew how to swim 🙂
    I thought I was just swimming, but God has been there all along, I just needed to open my eyes. All those thoughts of ‘am I fast enough, how far to go, am I beating the other guys’ was always beating my brain and blocking what was right there beside me.
    I think I might go do an early morning sunrise, or a sunset, and watch God watching me 🙂
    Great post Sammie…oh, and you most definitely smile with your eyes young lady…that glow can only be achieved by a belief and love of yourself. It is only then that the real smile looks out of those eyes. Your lovely friend Michelle does it too…with an apron on and a pen in her hands 😀
    Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mark!
      I could see this post speaking to you like it did to me. Joy is in the simplest things like a magic reflection or the sun’s daily gift. Like you, my thoughts while running (cuz I’d drown during a swim) tend to mirror those competitive notions. I should just be happy that I have legs that can still (kinda) carry me, and lungs that can still (kinda) keep me going for miles of beautiful sunrises and sunsets. It’s why I couldn’t wait to feature this piece. “Out of the mouths of babes”…though, her words are spoken like a kindred old soul.
      Thank you thank you for always being here and providing such a wonderful perspective and sense of calm.
      Michelle

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure Michelle, and I realised it is in that beautiful beating heart inside that ‘looks’ out into this world.
        Just like yours young lady, a lovely attitude as you jog, write and love within this wonderful world 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I never see myself unless the belly flop is timed perfectly. Then I see worry and regret just before the searing pain begins. Not a pretty picture. But your writing and the imagery of your swims are very pretty. Thank you for sharing it with us, Sammie.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. BAHAHAH! Oh Mark, you are da bomb!
      The ‘ole dreaded belly flop. That’s my go-to move.
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Sammie is a special young woman – out making a difference in the world as we speak…or belly flop 🙂

      Like

  6. Sammie is a beautiful creature of God’s that we all need to support. Her safety and good health and freedom to pursue happiness are all very fragile commodities that we need to keep in mind when making laws and policies and structuring beliefs. It does my heart wonders to read of her day and observations and activities. So civilized and she leverages her skills to make the world a better place and to achieve personal awareness. I feel as if have seen a better person having read this post – a person who is striving to make the world a better place. I have always believed that as humans we should look internally for improvement and in so doing improve all. Or to paraphrase Micheal Jackson: If you want to change the world, look in the mirror and change the person you see standing there. Or look at your reflection on the underside of the water.

    Great post Sammie/Mama.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It is easy to seek good around those who already are. In a lot of complex problems without definitive solutions, often the answers lie in choosing those who are living an exceptional life (like Sammie) and making rules and/or laws based on how those people would be affected. She brings good to this world. 🙂

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  7. What a wonderful way to start the day! I am a stair climber early in the morning and while I don’t have a reflection, I am left with a feeling of accomplishment that nothing in the day can take me down having completed 100 or more flights first thing. Its how I kick myself in gear. I have climbed the stairs at our local out door amphitheater at night and the sunset over the red rocks is the most beautiful thing!

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story about something most folks wouldn’t ever think about when working out, not just for herself, but just embracing the world and sharing smiles all over! A different perspective for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wasn’t she fabulous, T? So blessed to have that family in our life.
      I know that Miss Sammie is out on youth camp this week, and probably won’t see comments until after she returns. I do know that yours will make her smile when she reads it.
      Thank you for always being here and for reading. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It takes a special kind of soul to recognize such a beautifully (and not mistakenly) placed moment as you described. I feel a day that goes by that I haven’t stopped to look at the sky is a day I’ve not fully appreciated. You’re on my reading list now, because your words are beautiful and also any friend of Michelle’s has got to be good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She’s the bomb-diggity, Eli!
      I know she will absolutely cherish your words when she gets back from youth camp next week.
      It’s always so good to see you here 🙂

      PS: I owe you 6 words – I’ve not forgotten!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Im not religious anymore, but i grew up religious. I think the feeling that you conveyed in this post, is one that I attain when Im walking on a nature trail or at the beach. Ocassionally at the gym too. Its like the whole world stops, and you feel serene, energetic and very appreciative of everything.

    Great guest post. Im jealous of all athletes. lol I could’ve been one with a little more focus and stability.

    Like

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