Stay to the Right

By Melea Johnson

Rise & Shine Posted on Feb 11, 2018
Diving in the pool, she did a few little flutter kicks to position herself in a freestyle crawl toward the finish on the other end of the lane. My (then) five-year-old daughter was in her first 25-yard race on the swim team. I sat on the bleacher breathing in tandem as her little arms reached for the next water to pull and push herself through. But, she got off course, veering back and forth in her lane and after running into the ropes her momentum was broken, and so was her enthusiasm. My heart sunk.

Her being so young, she didn't know how to tell me she had water in her goggles, and couldn't see.

Every so often, I find out something so remarkable it changes the way I look at things, forever, and when my now 32-year-old daughter and I reminisced about her swim experience as seen (or not seen) through her little eyes, it amazed me. You see, her goggles simply needed to be adjusted for her to have the vision to reach her goal on that day. I never knew.

We don't know how other people view things, exactly, and we can not completely understand their thoughts to which inner reality and external life both contribute, recording mile markers of a journey they are on. We can only be interested. Really interested in where they wish to go, so we can perhaps help them along the way, knowing we can't see what they see, but we maybe can see something important they don't.

We all have a course set and we all breathe in the pockets. Distortions of a clear line of sight happen, daily, with distractions and problems that rough the waters around us and allow worry or fear to seep in. But, we can stay on course if we want to. We can find what we want, adjust our vision to clearly see it, explore under and beyond it, and conquer.

Diving into the lake, I did a few butterfly kicks before settling into a freestyle crawl and pointing myself toward a first buoy a half mile out. I was racing in my first open-water swim I had been training for. I was focused on spotting the feet of the swimmers in front of me, knowing (in all aspects of life) it is important to be in the protection of others who purpose to go in a same positive direction.

But, I got off course and veered to the left, and I was no longer picking out feet. I felt vulnerable and uncertain of my ability to finish the race. It was scary. I wondered where I was going to end up? It was then I heard a voice coming from a kayak saying, "I can see you need to go to the right. Stay on course, you are OK." I was relieved and settled into an even pace, knowing I was not alone and others were there to help simply adjust my vision.

Once the day was done, I was anxious to share my swim story with my daughter, and we laughed together when she said, "Ma, did you have water in your goggles?"

By Melea Johnson