Swimming.

Lovebug,

We started swimming lessons this week.  You were so excited to put on your bathing suit–you were giggling and bouncing all around and it was just impossibly adorable.  We loaded you up in the car and drove you to meet your destiny, while you were clueless as to what was ahead.  Everything went well until you were placed in the instructor’s arms and in the water.  How could we explain to you why we were remaining dry while you were led into a scary place with a near-stranger?  We stayed right by the edge the entire time and cheered you on.  You didn’t care.  You screamed and cried and pleaded for rescue in every way you knew how.  Ten minutes passed and it was over…you survived.  I wrapped you in a fluffy towel and told you how proud I was of you and I could feel your relief as you melted into my arms.  It was all behind you…until the next day when we did it again.  And then again.  And then again…

Today was day four and you are still very unhappy about what happens to you at swim.  In my adult brain, I can only imagine how scary it must be for you.  You feel completely out of control and the water in your eyes, ears, and mouth must be terrifying.  I want to be able to explain to you what is happening and why I put you through this every day in a way that you will understand, but I know that’s not possible.  This is a battle you have to fight through without the benefit of understanding, emerging victorious only after you have conquered this challenge.

Watching you today reminded me of a famous quote by Nelson Mandela,

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Growing up as a boy in America, you will no doubt feel pressure at some point to be “tough” in the face of fear.  I want you to know that the bravest people I know have feelings of doubt, of fear, of anxiety.  You aren’t brave because you don’t feel fear…that wouldn’t make you brave at all.  If you didn’t feel fear in the first place, bravery would never be necessary.  Bravery comes when you are gripped by fear and yet you are able to face it, pressing forward through the challenge.  You can always choose bravery, because you are a child of God and that thanks to Him, you NEVER walk (or swim) through anything alone.
Love you ALWAYS,
Mama