Kathleen Peterson

a disciple along the narrow way

Sticking with it

I’m not a quitter.

(This was probably the reason I was so burned out and left diocesan and parish ministry.)

I don’t like to say, no.
I don’t like to do anything half-arsed.
Most especially, I don’t like to fail.

That said, after hubby and I had two diving sessions in the pool, I was ready to give up.

There’s so much to be aware of:  your breathing, buoyancy, equipment, other divers.  You need an understanding of biology, chemistry, and physics.  Most importantly one must to recognize the dangers of diving and how to avoid them… or deal with problems under the water.  And so much can go wrong.  Scuba should have been included in Dumb Ways to Die.

For me, I had a difficult time equalizing my ears.  I couldn’t remember which button to push to let air out or to inflate my BCD (the vest that holds the tank and keeps you buoyant.).  My mask kept fogging.  I couldn’t hear the instructor when we were above water. I couldn’t understand signals below the water.  To top it off, hubby and I missed a pool class and had to play catch up which added to my anxiety.

You’ve heard of fight or flight.  I froze.

Embarrassed, defeated, and frustrated, I tapped out and ended up sitting at the side of the water for the rest of the class.

I was absolutely ready to quit when the owner of the dive store (where the classes are run through) took the time to talk to Jerry and me about our (my) frustrations.  He promised to pair us with a dive master who was known to be patient and make things fun.

Fun? I was shooting for not dying.

The following week we were back in the pool with the new diver master.

He was awesome – patient and methodical, happy to repeat things if I didn’t hear him the first time, and generous with affirmations.  We ended class that night exhausted but full of a renewed sense of accomplishment and convicted that we could complete the course.  And, the fact that I dropped the 8lb weight belt on my foot never even phased me.

It’s amazing how we each respond to different teaching styles.  Understanding this was a gamechanger when I was active in church ministry.

I have a friend, a youth minister that I worked with for years, who has a way with teens who are ‘in the margins’.

He has the patience of a saint and the charism to speak to hearts most hardened.  The teens love him; often they look to him as the father they never had.  Many live in dangerous areas of our city known for drugs and violence.  These same kids would scare the daylights out of most youth ministers.  But he loves them and that love is transformational.

Each of us has a unique personality with gifts that help us to minister to specific people who God sends our way.

Like my youth minister friend, our new dive master, although he has no idea, has been the face of Christ for me. Encouraging us to continue with scuba, he gave me the confidence I need so that one day we will be able to experience the underwater world that God so carefully and wonderfully created.

Please pray for me, and include our instructor, dive master, and the rest of the class, as I pray for you!

[In case this is ever read by any local divers, I want to be clear that our instructor is one of the best.  His knowledge and passion helped us to appreciate the science behind safe diving, for which I am grateful.  Even the phrase “blood in your sputum” no longer phases me.]

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