We remember thinking ourselves brilliant, that I know for sure. There we were, a band of misfit 17 year-olds, with a sure-fire plan to turn our Fourth of July party into a pool party, without actually having a pool. No, we reasoned, a real pool was unnecessary, and a small collection of baby pools would be sufficient in convincing our female invitees to wear swimsuits to the event. We were hormonal fools, that I know, indeed, for sure.
And then the day of the party came, all Star-Spangled splendor. And hot. Very hot. The temperature that day was 104 degrees, yet somehow if felt even hotter. The air was dead, and as we played sand volleyball and other makeshift games, I recall the sorry state of the baby pools on the hill. They were filled with tepid hot dog water, complete with floating grass and sand and other debris. Sitting in one was disgusting at best, and it was a far cry from the refreshing thing we had imagined.
About a month after that, I had soccer tryouts, and at the 3 pm practice, the day was reminiscent of that Fourth of July. It was scorched-earth hot, and wisely, our soccer coach determined it was too hot to practice. “No, instead we will run to the park,” he informed us matter-of-factly.
A two-mile run wasn’t the direct answer to any of our prayers, but then he sweetened the deal–or at least sprayed it off. “Once we get there,” he went on, “we’ll go swimming. I reserved the City Pool and we can escape the heat and do some team bonding.”
We ran. And ran. Two miles wasn’t far, of course, for us specimens of athleticism. But leave it to the sun to wear down even the most stalwart of Greek gods. We groped for the park like slugs, the pool a gem-glimmer mirage atop the hill.
Cotton-mouthed and cramping, we entered the front gate with energy renewed. And then we sprinted. All of us. We dove, gainered, flopped, and flipped into the deepest section of that deep, blue water. It was deep and cold and utterly refreshing. It was peace and joy and chlorine-red-eye-burning perfection.
What I remember is that no one ran toward the baby pool-depth kiddie pool. No one tip-toed timidly to the water to make sure the temperature was to his liking. No, we dove deep, deep, and deeper.
This weekend we spoke about love. So often it would seem we are content with the shallow-end when it comes to loving others. Give us a baby pool; it is better than nothing.
Yet then you read something like Philippians 1:1-11 and you wonder. You shake your head and scrunch your brows: How can Paul love like this? Who are these people who cause the Apostle to gush “with the affection of Christ Jesus”?
I wonder if I were to visualize the love I give and the love I dive into as a pool, what it would look like? Would it be an ocean of a thing like God’s? Would it be deep and wide and refreshing like Paul’s? Or would I be sitting alone on a hill in a baby pool, hot and smelly and wondering where all the other people had got to?
It is a question worth pondering. And perhaps it is a dive worth taking.
You can access the 9 AM message at the Chapel Website: http://www.capebiblechapel.org/media.php?pageID=5
And may we all dive deeper into love–a provision of God Himself–this week.