Sometimes we completely miss it.
At our neighborhood amenity center, we have two pools: the deep, lap pool where the teenagers hang out and old guys do laps, and the shallow, zero-entry pool where the younger (and less serious swimmers) play and parents snooze. On our first visit, the smaller pool was overpopulated with preschoolers and my oldest son wanted to check out the big pool with the ‘big kids’. Although he can swim fine, he quickly found out that it was much deeper than he was comfortable with and that the ‘big kids’ were too…serious. So he returned to the small pool with his little brother. In his words, ‘those kids swam in the deep part too long…I just wanted to play.” Over the next 90 minutes, I watched my oldest son play with abandon in the ‘little pool’. Swimming with his little brother. Splashing. Performing cannonballs and belly-flops. Completely carefree and care-less.
And I realized we missed it.
Most of the time we love to talk/write/blog/tweet about the deep, philosophical things of life. Of spirituality. Of theology. Of anything really. The danger of exploring the depths (swimming deep) for extended periods is that it has the tendency to feed our pride and makes us feel like experts. Dissecting. Compartmentalizing. Defining. Theorizing. But life is not just about the depths. Life is also about the surfaces. I spend lots of time with theologians (conversations, books, blogs), exploring the depths. But some of them seldom come up for the air of communication and relationship and experience.
In his essay on Twitter Theology, friend/creative/theolog Len Sweet says, “Life is a bunch of little things. These little things add up and Twitter reminds me to celebrate the little and the simple.” Depths are good and necessary, but remember Christ calling us to come to him as children. (Since I don’t know any deep 5-year-olds, I feel pretty good about playing in the shallow end of the pool with Jesus…)
While on sabbatical next week, I’m intentionally working on being grateful for the little things. Enjoying the beach, I pray you’ll indulge me while I’m playing in the spray of the shallow.
Holding my wife’s hand. The laughter of my boys. The smile of my little girl. The company of friends over dinner and coffee. Sleeping late in soft sheets. Walking barefoot in the sand while answering questions about why God made jellyfish.
I want to do shallow well.