Wednesday, July 28, 2010

celestial sticker rack

I was totally unprepared. 

I mean, I had the swim diaper, the change of clothes, the towel and the after-your-first-swim-lesson-treat all ready to go.

But, emotionally, I was ignorant to the experience that was about to strike me.

You see, mine is the son who's never cried for me when I've dropped him off at childcare for church. Mine is the son who politely (because his butt's whooped if he's not) asks me to "Leave me alone. Daddy and I are playing right now."

That same independent son cried


of his first swim lesson last week.

When Carter's name was called, along with Sid, Ella and Cameron, he wasn't sure what to think. Once his teacher dunked his head under the water, though, he knew exactly how he felt.


"Mommy!!" he screamed in panic when he could catch his breath, "Come swim with me!!" 

I could barely hear him. We mommies were seated behind a thick plexi-glass wall, with a red stop sign posted on the door that stood between Comfort and Fear. At one point, I asked the other moms if the kids could even see us--is this some kind of CIA interrogation glass? They assured me the kids could.

Which is why, 5 minutes into the hysterics (both mine and his), these other mommies told me I should hide myself. From his sight. The reasoning was that if he stopped looking back for me, he might forget his fears and focus on his lesson.

So there I stood, hiding behind a tall sticker rack, crying as my son frantically searched the scene of Watching Mommies for his, wondering why I would

leave him with a stranger,

leave him to his fears,

leave him to choke on chlorinated water because he's still not able to hold his breath.

The reason I chose to subject him to such fear, loneliness and seemingly abandonment is that I believed his temporary pain paled in comparison to the unalterable pain that could come from a drowning accident.

The promise of my son's independence and freedom in the water was worth far more than the tears we both cried that day.

I wondered if this was a fraction of what God has felt with his children;

if there was some Celestial Sticker Rack that God hid behind while he watched me walk through my darkest days, the moments comprised of tragedy and brokenness, the moments about which I would later swear,

You broke my heart when you let that happen.

I'm led to believe he cried then. I'm led to believe he was surprised by the pain he experienced. I'm led to believe he was whispering, the entire time I searched the sky for his face,

I'm right here. I haven't left you. I'm so sorry. It's going to be okay.

I have learned, in my short journey so far, that there is a Promise that far outweighs the pain, the brokenness and the tragedy of this life. Intimacy with God, fellowship with the sufferings of Christ, genuine ministry to broken women and a dependency on God are all parts of the Promise I've already known.

For the unanswerable questions, for the sufferings that seem to have no possible value in this life, the ultimate Promise of life and healing await his children. I imagine God standing there, at the door of eternity, with a warm towel in his hands, ready to embrace the shivering sojourner.

For now, though, we just have to believe He was there. He is there. And that his purposes are wiser and better than a mom trying to teach her son how to swim.

Where do you have to trust God still has a purpose for you?


  1. this made me cry! poor carter! poor mommy! you must have felt horrible! but i think you did the right thing....ugh...those are the things i am NOT looking forward to as a mom...

    how was he afterwards???

  2. well, the first lesson was that bad! The second he started to cry a couple times, but got distracted and got it together. Now, he loves his lessons and gets in trouble by throwing the toys in the pool when his teacher is working with the other kids. Today he said, "Ms. Sam, Ms. Sam! It's my turn!!" thx for asking :-)