There is something about that second lane; the second lane is my favorite: still in the shallow end, but not right next to the wall. Every pool I’ve ever swam in has held for me a favorite lane, and it’s usually for some of the same reasons. I don’t like to be in the wide open, or way out of my depth, but I also don’t want to be hindered by an immovable wall.
One of the things that I have learned throughout this past season is just how deeply ingrained my prayer is in my body and in movement. I pray best when I’m in motion; hiking, swimming, yoga; if I am moving, I am praying. I learned this because of how difficult prayer became when I was mostly trapped in my house, with my movement being limited to the kitchen and back on the scooter.
Seasons of difficult prayer have their benefit, even if it is just an increased gratitude for a time when prayer comes easily. It has its benefits, but it’s certainly not fun.
When I walked into the pool earlier this week and saw that the second lane was taken, as was every other one except one way down in the deep end, I was a bit bummed. There is just something to the focus that swimming laps in the shallow lane provides. It’s not that I feel unsteady in the deep end, but the way I navigate is changed when the bottom is in sight verses when all I can see is the depth of the pool below.
As I was swimming back and forth in the deep end, I realized how this time was different. I didn’t lack focus, but instead found the dancing lines of the refracted light from the giant fluorescent bulbs ahead to be soothing; the large mass of water below didn’t distract me from each stroke, but rather it drew me into a new kind of depth. I pray when I move, and for some reason, swimming in the deep end helped me pray in a way that I hadn’t in a while.
So, it seems, I am quite literally finding a new depth. I now no longer prefer the second lane, but instead opt for the deeper end. It’s not that my prayer was shallow when I prefered the shallow end, but that it, along with my pool lane preferences have changed. Navigating a new depth offers a lot of joy, because change is invigorating; in this new depth I’m able to engage and entertain things for which there wasn’t space in an earlier stage of my life and prayer, and I’m just trying to navigate it all, one lap at a time.