Recently, I almost lost a very teachable moment with my daughter. Thankfully, through some tugging from the Lord and gentle words from my Dad, I turned my own negative thoughts to teachable ones. Here’s the story:
We had been attending a birthday party at a local state park and the kids wanted to go swimming at the pool. At about 6:20, someone pointed out that we only had about 30 minutes left for the pool. So~ go into Mom gear~ grab the kids, suits and towels and truck it to the changing room for a quick change and then to the pool. We did manage to get into the pool area at about 6:30 and I told the kids that we had about 25 minutes to swim…not a long time, but enough for a cool down and a little fun. Here’s where the trouble started.
At 6:40, the lifeguards told the kids they had 5 more minutes. HUH?? I pointedly looked at the lifeguard, looked at the sign behind me that said in big bold letters “SWIMMING HOURS 11-7”, looked at my watch and looked back at the lifeguard. Now, keep in mind…myself, along with several other parents and grandparents had rushed over so the kids could get a half hour in the pool. We had 8 kids…ranging from 18 months to 10 years old…and there were only 2 other people in the pool. Not so many that it would take 15 minutes to clear everyone out.
So, what’s a parent to do? My first reaction was not God-honoring…I was all but ready to tell that lifeguard what was on my mind! They had watched us come in, heard me tell the kids we had 25 minutes to swim and didn’t correct me! And who were they to tell us to be done early??!! The pool is a free pool funded through the State Park…so, essentially, the taxpayers are paying those “teeny-bopper” lifeguards to watch us swim during the posted Swimming Hours! Just another of those “there are our tax dollars hard at work” issues. Righteous Anger? ABSOLUTELY…or so I tried to tell myself!
Well, I did start to spout off out of hearing of the kids, when my Dad…ever the wise one…calmly and in very few words, made me realize that it wasn’t that big of a deal and the “teeny-boppers” probably had somewhere fun to go. And, they probably only were getting paid until 7, so they wanted to be closed up and out of there. Ok…he’s right, I needed to cool down and handle this situation with a totally different attitude.
Back to 5 minutes left…my daughter is 10 and can tell time, so when she heard this she was not at all happy. I told her to just enjoy her 5 minutes and leave it at that. Well…five minutes was up and I told her it was time to get out of the pool. She, very loudly said…”The sign says we can swim until 7”! My response was simply “Well, I guess the Lifeguard want to close early tonight”…and yes…it was all in hearing of said Lifeguard. I was giving them a chance to at least explain to us why we had to get out early. We got all the kids out of the pool, dried off and out of the gate by about 6:50 and the gates closed behind us. On the way back to “Party Central” I had a chance to remind my daughter that we might not always like the rules that are set before us, but, God always wants to obey those in authority [as long as we are not sinning in doing so].
On the way home, I was surprise at how much the whole situation bothered me! I can usually let go of things that I see as “unfair” as long as no one was hurt. But, this just ate at me the entire way home…and it was a 1 ½ hour drive! Later that night, I realized that my Christian walk is a lot like the “Pool Situation”… God being the lifeguard of my life. I may not always understand the rules or situations that He bring before me…I may think life is unfair…but He is in control and I have to obey. God alone knows the rhyme and reason for our daily trials. He may or may not choose to let us know those reasons. But, by trusting in Him…knowing “…that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose.”(Romans 8:28), I know that I can “Float and not Sink” while I swim in this “Pool” called life!