God is our refuge & strength;
a very present help in trouble.
~ Psalm 46:1
Across the landscape of my memory a scene has emerged. It is one I've seen many times before; and one I shall never forget. It always takes me back to the early 70s when my children were wee. It is also among the most beautiful of life lessons taught me by an Unseen Hand ~ one I've not always recognized in the moment, but long after, when 20/20 hindsight reveals the bigger picture.
One of my sisters had a swimming pool ~ a rare thing in that era, and even rarer still in Washington state, the land of perpetual mist. Thus it was a special treat to be invited for a swim. Oftentimes we'd be joined by our other sisters and their families. The children ~ cousins ~ delighted in the whole of it.
In the summer of 1973 my daughter, Molly would have been 2 1/2. She loved the water but had no sense of the danger associated with it. Many, many times she'd been warned to stay away unless someone older was with her; someone who could actually swim. But the thrill of it all was often too much for her. She'd put her little toes just over the edge and then eyeball us. A taunt.
On one such occasion Molly began making her way down the steps that lead into the pool. Repeated cautions fell on intentionally deaf ears. The top 3 steps presented no problem; her head was easily above water. But once she stepped onto the 4th step she would be completely immersed. Many times we'd run to grab her just in the nick of time. But that day, the one from my memory's landscape, I sat close by and let it happen.
Down she went: one step, two step, three step, four. I made my way to her, expecting a clamor of fear and a flailing of small limbs. I hoped it would teach her a valuable lesson about the danger of water. Instead, a very calm Molly stood stock still on that fourth step, raising her little hand until it broke the water's surface, and there she waited. She had no doubt I would pluck her out.
I'm certainly not advocating for a near-death experience in order to teach children a lesson or to prove a point. Besides, Molly was never in any real danger even if she didn't know that. Beyond that, even, are the lessons I've set upon teaching an errant other when, quite often, they are actually lessons God intended for me to learn.
What strikes me in this little girl beneath the water scene is its analogous linkage to faith & trust. But I'll not draw too many bottom lines for you. Likely you're already forming analogies of your own.
Suffice it to say: Many is the day I stand on the 4th step with my hand reaching just above the water's surface. I wait there, absolutely certain the Father will pluck me up. I have no doubt.
(L-R Cousins David & Monica,
Molly ~being coy on the pool's edge~,
Brad, Cousin Lisa and Kelly)
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
You preserve my life; You stretch out
Your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and Your right hand delivers me.
~ Psalm 138:7
P.S. For those of you who know of Molly's current battle against Ovarian Cancer it will be of little wonder that she, to this day, faces every challenge in similar fashion.