Those Stinging Bellyflops

Isn’t it strange the things you remember? Many times it seems like it is those times we fail that we remember most.

I remember in high school, during the summers I really loved to swim at Mayo Lake. I even took the life guard course they offered and did diving off the low and high boards. Now you are going to have to use a lot of imagination, but back in the day, I had a good physique. I played football, basketball, ran track, played baseball and softball in the summer.

I loved to swim and dive. I remember that we would practice diving wearing a sweatshirt to keep the mistakes from hurting so badly. My favorite dive was a backward 1/2 gainer off the high board (12 feet) and a 1 and 1/2 off the low board. I still vividly remember to this day when I did a 1 and 1/4 off the low board. You must picture a 1 and 1/4 – that means to land in (or in my case ON) the water, stretched out with every part of your body hitting the water all at once. I hit so flat that I don’t believe I even went under the water… just kind of laid there on top stunned and stinging. (Yes, it hurt!)

I seem to forget all the good dives I made over the years and remember with great shame that one big splat.

One night we were eating dinner with Stephen, Joy and the kids at Kick Back Jacks. Joy asked the waitress some question about their pizza specials. The waitress responded: “I don’t know, I don’t usually work the Friday shift.” (Duh, it is Monday). When we see her again, that is what we will remember. Sometimes there are people who only remember that perfect dive they made… forgetting all the mistakes.

Have you ever wondered what people think when they see you? Do they see a person of care and compassion, one who gives others many chances in life, not judging but understanding and forgiving? Do they see a Christian person or one who just pretends to be a Christian? Perhaps we have forgotten that we missed those real live dives so badly that the pain should remind us of our failures and imperfection. But instead we pretend we have never messed up and judge others for their messes and simply will not give them a chance to redeem themselves. We forever remember them and judge them on that one missed dive.

Isn’t it a good thing that Jesus looked past our belly flops to see that there is something in us worth redeeming, forgives us, and gives us a new life of walking in his footsteps.

Dear Lord, I have missed a lot of dives, but you have always been there to pick me up, renew my spirit and restore me all over again. Keep on working on this old retired preacher… don’t be finished with me yet. Amen.

Grace and Peace

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