Some of my best summer memories as a young teenager were taking sailing lessons on Hamilton Harbour. Sure, it meant some time in a classroom and taking written tests along with the learning and practice on the water in the sailboats, but it was a lot of fun.
One of things that was required before being able to take the classes was a swimming test. The test included both a good number of laps to be completed as well as a length of time spent treading water, and to add to the challenge and realism both activities were to be done wearing clothes.
I did pass the tests but I do remember watching the clock on the wall while treading water, with my clothes weighting me down, wondering if I could make it.
I think we all have had our endurance tested in ways we haven’t before, due to the pandemic.
We have all looked the clock, or in this case the calendar, and wondered the pandemic equivalent of “how long can I tread water?”
“I do remember watching the clock on the wall while treading water, with my clothes weighting me down, wondering if I could make it.”
Nothing could have prepared us for what we have been through. We have all had to draw on internal reserves we rarely have needed before, except in the most dire situations. There has been grief and loss. It has felt that even our joys during this time have been muted, often because we could not celebrate them with the people who we would normally celebrate with.
Our scriptures do tell stories of difficult times experienced by faithful people. Noah on the ark for forty days and nights. The 40 years in the wilderness of Moses and the Hebrew people in Exodus. The many years God’s children spent in exile in Babylonia. Jesus fasting in the wilderness for forty days.
In each of these times of extended waiting, of transformation and change, what kept those in the midst of it going was God’s Promise.
It does bother me a little to admit that I am getting impatient. I am tired of how long this crisis has gone on.
But, I do know and trust that we will get through. Certainly not unscathed or unchanged. All of those stories from our faith history were harrowing long seasons of deadly and threatening obstacles, but each point us, on our own harrowing journey, to the same Promise that was fulfilled at the journey’s end, in this world and the next.
How long can I “tread water”?
Currently about 457 days and counting with thanks be to God, and to you, my family in Christ.
Be well and God Bless you,
The Rev’d Canon Rob Park