By Jenna Ebener
I plunged into the water and was enveloped in silence. Through my goggles, I noticed the purity of the clear blue water and the bubbles my breath made. I felt my hand slice smoothly through the water. I was at peace.
For as long as I can remember, water has been my happy place. Playing in the rain, throwing water balloons, running through sprinklers and spending entire days in a pool or a lake made up much of my childhood. As I grew older, my love for water did not diminish. I joined a swim team, competed in triathlons and became a lifeguard. I continue to spend every opportunity I get in a pool. I have often joked that I would live underwater if I could and imagine that part of heaven must be underwater.
Many things about water lure me to its depths. One thing I love is the unique silence that occurs when I am underwater. Oceans, pools and even bathtubs all have different sounds yet one thing they each do is block out much of the world above. You can no longer see or hear what is happening around you, and that is a very rare thing to find. With the silence, for me, comes a sense of peace. Something magical happens every time I am embraced by water — I stop thinking. My mind is constantly whirring. Yet, when I am underwater, it becomes an effort to think; I am so enthralled in the sensations of the water. My mind instantly relaxes and I am one with the water. As weird as it may sound, I see that peace for what it is — a blessing. That peace is a chance for me to unite with God.
It is an interesting unity. There are times I actively seek out God, such as when journaling. There are times when God’s presence jumps out at me, such as when I see a sunset. There are times when God is simply present without any thought or effort. I am not directly talking to him or actively seeking him out, yet I know without a doubt that he is there. The latter is my experience while swimming. I have such joy and peace knowing that God is with me, even though I may not be directly talking to him. I do not have to make any effort, for he is simply reveling in my joy.
Where is your happy place? What is one thing you do that brings you peace the moment you begin or even talk about it in conversation? What brings you such joy and contentment that you know God is in that experience with you? Now, how often do you seek that out?
I did not realize until after some reflection how much I have missed swimming with God. Especially with my other outdoor interests, swimming is not something that has been as easily accessible to me now as it has been in the past. At least, that is what I thought.
After praying and reflecting on how I could bring some more joy back to my life, God showed me that one thing I have been missing is swimming. He also showed me that it is much closer to my grasp than I initially thought. It simply took a bit of research to find a solution. What, if anything, is holding you back from that moment of joy? Take a look; it might be closer than you think.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8).
(Jenna Ebener, who has a Master of Social Work from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, is a social worker at a school in Colorado for students with medical needs.)