It’s not the time of year we usually think about swimming, but it was this very month 29 years ago that I began my lifeguard position at the YMCA of the Rockies.
Situated in the mountains above Estes Park, winter is a snowy, blustery time at the YMCA. I hiked with snow prickling my eyes from my dorm on the hillside down to the indoor pool. Inside the pool building I slowly thawed out while the windows frosted over with humidity.
There the brave winter guests gathered to exercise their muscles, entertain the kids, or expend some energy on water aerobics. Somehow my job was to check them in, lifeguard, teach aerobics, and clean the shower rooms. But we can do that much when we are young! I remember my script well:
- “Tweet…Don’t run on the deck!”
- “Tweet…No diving in shallow water!”
- “Tweet…No dunking your brother!”
One day early in my career, I was twirling my whistle (as lifeguards are supposed to do) when it flipped right out of my hand into the deep end of the pool. Since I was still on shift and needed to stay in my chair, I was forced to ask one of the boys I’d just blown that same whistle at to please fetch it from the bottom of the pool! Good way to humble a lifeguard!
Another time at the YMCA, I was carefully watching the deep end when in jumped a little kid. Completely forgetting everything I learned about “reach-throw-row-go,” I leapt into the deep end, grabbed the young child, and pulled him out. I never was quite sure if his parents wanted him rescued, because they gave me funny looks. But, better safe than sorry!
These days when I take my youngest son to the pool, I’m still tempted to holler at the other bathers, but usually I keep my mouth shut. I’m thankful for the new batch of lifeguards who have energy for whistling at the swimmers.
However, once a lifeguard, always a lifeguard. God has called me to be another kind of lifeguard. His calling is for you, as well. Our calling is not the “don’t do this, don’t do that” type of lifeguarding. It is the “run and jump in and save the child,” funny looks or not!
Today’s TEA CUPP: My friend, remember how Jesus rescued you? There are so many folks in our world who are drowning in their troubles and need the light of Christ to pull them out. Will you help me rescue them? Let’s begin with prayer, and then leap when Jesus says “jump in!”
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)
New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.