Well, I’m not sure where to begin with this. I suppose everything good in my swimming life came out of Kingdom Swim last year. Really and truly, the reward of that has just been phenomenal. I cannot even express the exponential return I got just from finishing. It didn’t seem like something so hard to do at the time, just finishing. Looking back, it doesn’t seem to warrant such incredible, amazing, extravagant goodness as I have been blessed with.
I will be off to Ireland soon for open water training. Over the course of nine days, we will be swimming twice a day in approximately 50 degree water. Some of the swims will be in the ocean. Some will be in rivers. Some will be in lakes. I believe there is even one in a river that will be timed so that we swim off with a release of water from a dam. The total distance is projected to be about 55 – 60 miles total. In 9 days.
As if that isn’t enough, on the second to last day we will all participate in a Torture Swim. The idea is that everything that can go wrong absolutely WILL go wrong… and then some.
As if THAT isn’t enough, on the very last day, after being exhausted, swimming everywhere, and being tortured, we are swimming for 6 hours straight.
I had started off getting ready for this in January and February with extreme strength. I was so excited to be ready! I worked so hard to get my mileage up, to perfect and improve my technique. I was looking great!
With March, my shoulder started to bother me. I went to physical therapy. Weeks and weeks, I tried and tried to strengthen and improve. It seemed to be working!
But with April, my mileage just seemed to dwindle as I fought the pain.
May’s mileage also dwindled as I tried to accustom to cold water temperatures while still being safe and accommodating a busy work schedule. My shoulder only seemed to worsen even as the miles lessened.
Now, with Ireland only a week and a half away, I had begun to doubt myself. To doubt my readiness. To doubt my capabilities. To be sad that I am not actually as prepared as I could have been and that I could, besides getting hypothermia or something, hurt my shoulder and really have to stop swimming.
I look back over the months and wonder and wonder… what could I have done differently? What could I have done to be more ready? Where did I go wrong? Did I do enough?
There will always be worry. There will always be angst. There will always be fear. There will always be self-doubt and insecurities and voices of discouragement. There just always will.
Don’t let them in.
Maybe, maybe I’m not ready for the temperatures. Maybe I’m not ready for the distance. Maybe I’m not ready for the hours. Maybe I’m not ready to contribute much to a conversation with a group of well-seasoned athletes – many of whom have already swum the Channel or other long swims. Maybe I’m not ready for those things.
But I am always ready to learn. I am always ready to listen. I am always ready to try. I am always ready to swim. I am always ready to be me. I am always ready to smile! I am always ready to push beyond the tears and the tired and insufficiencies and into some new spot of accomplishment. I am always ready to accept the challenge and to grow into it – even if the challenge is to NOT swim some of the time.
I am always ready to be me. I am always ready for whatever it is that Yahweh has purposed for me. I cannot fail.
So maybe Ireland is not about temperatures. Or distances. Or anything like that at all. Maybe, it’s about a song in my spirit that I will keep on singing. A dance in my being that begs creation to let me pass through her most excellent waters. A resolve in my mind to excel, to overcome, to buy up every moment.
I am always, always ready. Always. Just to be.
Come hell or high water.
Or, in this case, a whole lot of both.