On gratitude and imperfection

This week I have been reminded of how important it is for me to be grateful for things that aren’t always perfect. Conversations with some in our shared faith community have reminded me of that and also just the details of my mundane daily life. For example, I generally swim twice a week, so I swam today. And it was what I now consider a great swim. However, if I hadn’t been able to be grateful for what I considered imperfect conditions in the past, I would’ve found myself feeling frustrated and sullen about the morning. Here’s why:
As I’ve shared before, I became a swimmer during the pandemic, having never swim laps before except the pass a swim test in my college as part of my college graduation requirements back in the 80s. Lap swimming was scary to me, yet it was a kind of exercise around other people that I could do even in the midst of a global pandemic, so I plunged into it and found it soon became an incredible grounding part of my week , and I’ve continued to do it.
Because I was a new swimmer, and because I was afraid of what we all were afraid of at that time, exposure to other peoples’ germs, I felt safe, because initially swimmers had their own lane and an app which we all watched like hawks to get one of the coveted few lanes. As the restrictions eased, the Y went back to allowing people to share lanes. I remember being terrified I was that I would not be able to swim without harming someone because of my lack of skill.

I mentioned this to one of the lifeguards, who then began to greet me whenever I came in whenever there was an empty lane by saying ,”Hooray! There’s an empty lane for you!” I think I got a reputation among my fellow swimmers is being not very social….
Almost 4 years into the enterprise, I am still not a graceful swimmer, however I am more capable of staying on my side of the lane. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if I didn’t allow myself to swim even when the conditions weren’t exactly what I wanted. Now my “perfect swim“i s one in which I have a lane to myself either at the beginning or the end of my swim so I can do my backstroke, which is still very treacherous to my fellow swimmers. In the middle though, and for the bulk of my swim, I prefer to have someone else in my lane not only because it’s companionable, also because it means that other people are swimming and the organization that I love which like other nonprofits is struggling, has more people attending.

Being able to trade a little bit of what I want so that others can get what they need is an essential part of community. In fact, something I think we learn and community and is one of the great benefits of being part of it so I’m grateful to be part of the imperfect and wonderful communities, including this church which enrich my life. enrich my life.

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