In the blissful quietness of Southern California dawn, I found myself in a conversation long ago with a US Olympic swim team member. I asked him what was his enduring memory (because of a boycott, he did not attend the Olympics). His response surprised me; the early morning swims. Warm or cold, tired or energetic, convenient or otherwise, six or seven days a week he found himself swimming laps in the icy waters of the coming day. It was a routine started when he was a young swimmer. It was the memory that had etched itself into his soul. As his emotions began to reveal themselves, I asked the obvious.
“Was it worth it? Would you do it again to compete?”
Without hesitation, there was a quiet, resolute, and defiant “yes”.
I find that the early morning offers each a unique experience. Even as our bodies cry for more sleep, we choose to be awake and engaged. The dawn offers each a unique invitation to be part of something wonderfully intentional. I find that when I choose truth filled love activity in the dawn hours that my soul is uniquely changed. It can be seen as a wonderful experience that will only makes sense as one looks back on it with the experience in hand.
One might ask if it is all worth it. On more days than not, I wonder as well. In the moment, I can only imagine the discipline to hit the icy waters. The challenge of pushing this hard is beyond my imagination. Yet, the dawn's invitation remains present for each. We are invited to be alone with God and our souls. We are invited into a special experience. Everything is present, waiting for us, pending our choice.
If I heard the words, “'Oh!' said Simon, 'pray for me! Pray to the Master that nothing like that will ever happen to me!'” (Acts 8.24) I know my answer; steps into the soft morning light and God's gentle touch. “Give it to God and let the process change you from the inside out.”
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