I learned to swim when I was 36 years old. I stood in the shallow end of the training pool, 36 years of fear telling me that I couldn’t do it. Gently my instructor encouraged me. Just lie back, abandon yourself to the water and you will float. Hands supporting my shoulders, she guided me as I stiffly tilted backwards. Water on my back, my shoulders, my head, and still her hands supported me as I fought the fear and fought the water. And then, slowly, I realized that I wasn’t sinking. Each try became a little easier, a little less fear-filled. Then the hands were taken away and wonder of wonders, I was floating on my own!
So it continued with each lesson; the initial fear, the gentle coaching, the learning to abandon my fear and just GO! And I learned something. I learned that I loved the water and I loved to swim. There was a freedom and grace in pushing off and being supported on all sides by physical properties I don’t fully understand, in moving through the water and feeling it slide off my body. (OK, full disclosure, there was still enough fear in me that I had to swim in the lane closest to the edge JUST IN CASE I started to flounder.) Sadly we moved away before I could really complete my lessons and I haven’t had a chance to get back to it yet, but I look forward to it someday.
This blog is my ‘toes in the water’ of writing. In all my years of not swimming I longed to be able to swim. I’d look at other people swimming and think about how fun it looked and how much I wished I could just conquer my fear and do it. I missed a lot by waiting so long to learn. And so it is with writing. I look at what other people write and think “I could do that, couldn’t I?” But then I worry. I worry that I will look stupid, that the words won’t come out right, that no one will read it (or read it and say ‘so what?’). Fear keeps me from jumping in to the water of words that swirl around me. I don’t want to wait another 36 years to jump in.
So here I am, my inaugural post. Scared, but exhilerated because anything can happen when you start to step into something new. I don’t know yet what exactly this blog will turn into, but I think most likely it will be a journey. A journey of learning to take those steps, to try something new, to think more deeply about the big thoughts that I’ve never felt capable of understanding. Above all it is a blog about grace. It is about stepping out of all the fears that keep me bound and stepping into the core of who I really am; and it is about knowing that all along grace was there, the hands under my shoulders, the voice in my ear saying “It’s ok, really, just let go and be free!”