Friday, July 25, 2008

One More Lap for Dad

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

For the first time in 30 years, the family pool remained closed throughout the summer of 2006. It seemed only appropriate that one of the family symbols of joy and celebration would remain silent…especially at a time of such sorrow with the passing of both my Dad and Grandmother.

To be honest, deep-down I never wanted that pool to be opened again. In my mind, it just would never be the same without my Dad, who had labored so hard to keep it going for three decades. Despite my internal objections, my sister pressed to have the pool opened last summer and then again this year. I found the desire to go in it just briefly last summer, but a couple weeks ago, a “quick dip” on a Saturday evening became something much more than that. As the sun was setting on a perfect night, one bright star began to shine brightly in the cloudless sky. As I stared at it intently, I could hear the Lord say to me “It’s time - let it go!!"

Within minutes I began doing just that. The joy of my childhood returned to me over the next couple hours, as once again the family pool became a symbol of celebration rather than one of painful loss. After I had enough fun, I was ready to grab my towel and call it a night. But then I looked towards the house, and there peeking through the darkness was the same chair in the same position my Dad would sit in for hours - day after day, summer after summer - watching me perform dive after dive, and lap after lap. He always took such joy in it, and never let me call it a night without making “One more dive!” or swimming “One more lap!”

I tried to recall the number of years it had been since I swam a full lap in that pool, but it had been too many. What had once been a daily summer event, had become a far too distant memory of the past. On this night, however, I knew it was not going to end without me completing one last mission. I lifted up a thankful prayer to the heavens as I walked over to the low end, and then swam one more lap for Dad.