Saturday, April 21, 2018

Gritting My Teeth

I've been going swimming several mornings a week for over 6 months now. Ahead of tests that will determine whether I need oxygen for night or not, I decided I would try and get in shape as best I could. I started out being able to do 5 minutes worth of (slow) laps.

Over time I've been able to increase it so that now I can do 30 minutes. I savor every single moment of it. I can't put my face in the water and hold my breath due to my issues with oxygen but I can do a slow breast stroke keeping my nose, not unlike a dog, above the water as I go. I love the water like I have never loved it before. I feel free and relaxed. I feel no body shame. For an introvert who spends the bulk of her day interacting with students and the public the quiet of those 30 minutes is wonderful.

There's a small handful of regulars that brave the weather and early mornings to swim. You nod and say hi. Occasionally you talk. I haven't gotten past the nod and smile and wishing someone a good day phase except for a retired husband and wife couple who I've known for 20+ years. After my laps I wade into the hot tub and feel like I've found a little piece of heaven.

Today, in the relaxing space of the hot tub, I was reminded again how hard it is to be content to be me when it comes to my spiritual life. I talk to God mostly when I'm driving my car. At times I must look to passersby like someone with road rage the way I pound the steering wheel and throw my hands up in the air all the while talking a mile a minute. The remainder of my prayers are mainly silent.

One of the retired couple came over to talk to me in the hot tub recently. They relayed about how they'd woken up a few days ago with a sore joint and how after two days, and the help of a brace, 'ta-da' there was no pain and the good Lord had taken care of it. How wonderful was that? they asked me.

Inwardly I gritted my teeth. I smiled. Well, it felt more like a grimace. I shut down when someone talks to me like that. It feels like an affront. It makes me grit my teeth. I immediately distrust when someone gives God the glory for their problems being solved like a magician waving a magic wand. I wonder what they do when it doesn't work out quite like that.

There's also a part of me that envies people who have a free and ready voice to give God the credit for every little and not so little good thing that happens. There are areas of my life where I do this. Big things. My sobriety. My marriage. (that story includes praying my first novena and is literally a miracle but I'd be hard pressed to tell it to anyone.) The fact that my grown kids talk to me.

Sometimes I wonder if not being vocal about my faith means I am ashamed of it.

Yesterday I watched a clip of  Brennan Manning saying that everything is grace. I believe it is.

My spiritual life continues to be a paradox.

**I initially wrote this  a year ago and never posted it. I ended up needing a CPAP machine, not oxygen, for night. Who knew it was possible to wake up rested?! I still go swimming. The retired couple still come to the pool, too. All of the words up there, and the passage of time, have brought me no closer to any conclusion.**