Kathleen Peterson

a disciple along the narrow way

YMCA vs Scuba

When I was a kid, Saturday mornings were spent at the YMCA.

My brothers and I were enrolled in swim classes year round.  The tradition of hitting the pool was almost as sacred as going to Mass on Sundays. (Okay, not even close but you get the drift.)

Our parents wanted to make sure that we knew how to swim.

Mom had a fear of water which she did not want us to inherit, and dad was an avid fisherman – read:  if we ‘fell in’ we had to save ourselves… and not disturb the other fishermen.

After many years of progressing from Polliwog to Minnow then Fish to Flying Fish, the ultimate lap of the journey was Shark to Porpoise.  I’m not sure if my brothers ever made it, but reaching Porpoise was a personal goal that I’m still grateful for.  Those years in the water stripped me of any fear I might have.

In the pool I found freedom, peace.

A bathing suit and cap streamlined my middle school insecure body for graceful movements.  I was my only competition; what I wore didn’t matter and being underwater allowed me an escape from the world.

So, when hubby asked me to be his diving buddy, my heart skipped a beat recalling those wonderful Saturday mornings at the Y.  I couldn’t wait to share this new hobby with him.  There was also a spiritual aspect to this longing, recalling the peace that I felt and hoping to pair it with the progression that I have made in my interior life.

Ha! Wrong.

The simple suit now replaced with a menagerie of expensive and heavy equipment which, when donned, makes it practically impossible to move about in while on land.  And breathing, which the Creator designed to be effortless, has become a unique skill to be learned.

Our first class was the epitome of Murphy’s Law.

Hubby and I made every mistake a newbie could make.  I won’t go into details but it was a horrible experience.  We left with bruising, bad backs, borderline hypothermia, exhaustion beyond anything we had ever experienced, and a huge sense of failure.***

Where was the freedom?

What happened to graceful movements?

Forget about uniting this experience with the spiritual life.  I can’t even make the physical part work!

We drove away in silence.

Truly, I couldn’t understand how scuba diving was appealing to anyone after what we went through.  How could I tell my hubby that this activity sucked?

And then….

He looked at me and shyly said, “I’m okay if we never do that again.”

I agreed and we both laughed.

A few days later we went to the dive store to talk about our frustrations.  We discussed masks and rented dive suits to stay warm; the owner gave us courage to go to the next class.

The entire experience reminded me of childbirth.  As painful as it is, somehow God allows the body and mind to forget just how bad it was and one gets pregnant again.  Men – trust me, this is the Master’s plan.

Another sign of encouragement came from a Scuba subreddit.  It seems as if our experience is not isolated; a lot of people struggle with their first few dives.

Time will tell if we stick with it; hubby and I don’t give up easily and we love a challenge.  Hopefully, these updates will continue; we’ve gotten a little old for Saturday morning pool class.

Please pray for me as I pray for you!


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