Sometimes you must take a leap of faith

By JAMIE PATTERSON,

My toes slightly dangled off the edge of the swimming pool, and it felt as if my heart was steadily sinking down my legs.

The knot in my stomach grew tighter and tighter as I attempted to take a few deep breaths. It was my first attempt to dive into the deep end of the pool.

I had just taken a few swimming lessons, but I wasn’t comfortable in the water at all. I had – and still have – a fear of water. It is so bad to this day that I hate even driving over bridges.

As I slightly bent my knees, I looked out toward my mother who was waiting for me in the middle of the pool. I am sure she was getting impatient with my reluctance to just dive in, but she continued to shout words of encouragement.

“Just do what your teacher taught you,” she said, holding her arms out to me. “I’m right here. Nothing is going to happen to you.”

I’m not sure if what was fear or perhaps a sudden burst of confidence, but I took the dive.

The water covered my entire body, and the echo of the bubbles impacted my ears. That first feeling of fear took over as I felt my tiny body begin to sink. Holding my breath, I managed to open my eyes and I slowly started to feel my body rise a little.

With the chlorine stinging my eyes, I managed to see my mother’s body under the water. I frantically began to kick my legs and push my arms out in a breast stroke.

For a moment, I felt completely alone under the water, and I was on the verge of losing my confidence.

But then I saw my Momma’s arms reaching out to me under the water. Grabbing her hands, she pulled me up to the surface.

Spitting water out and almost on the verge of crying, I was congratulated by my Momma on overcoming my fear. Granted, it wasn’t the best swimming performance, but I made it safe and sound.

I still consider myself a non-swimmer, and my fear is very much there. But for a brief moment that summer day, I had my own personal cheerleader with my Momma.

That memory returned to me this week as a number of challenges arrived within my life.

From medical concerns to financial worries to hectic workloads, I began to experience that same feeling of fear and uncertainty.

But in the midst of it all, I said a silent prayer to God that he would help pull me through the rough waters. I admit I am still worried, but an odd feeling of comfort came over me as I silently prayed.

Life is all about dangling your toes over the edge. Unsure of what lurks in the water below, you weigh out your options and attempt to muster up enough courage to take a dive.

When you finally slip, the worries consume you at times, much like the water engulfing you once you enter the pool.

But all you can do is keep your eyes open despite the depths, kick as hard as you can and look for those welcoming arms reaching out to you.

Those arms are there to pull you out of the deep, to lift you to safety and praise you for your willingness to never give up.

And heading into those arms takes a deep breath, a prayer and a leap of faith.