Just Breathe

My son and I recently earned our open water scuba diving certification. It has been something I have been interested in doing for nearly 20 years.

I wear a dive watch that was given to me one Christmas from my wife many years ago in anticipation of one day being able to go.

However, for 20 years this watch never went deeper than the deep end of a pool.

Twenty years of waiting, but the outcome of getting certified with my son was a priceless gift well worth the wait.

We had a tremendous and thrilling adventure together, and accomplished something that at times was scary, difficult, and taxing, and we did it together.

We overcome together, and became each other’s “buddy”. Meaning, we had each other’s back, watched out for each other, and helped keep each other safe. What a gifted union to have with my son!

From this experience, so many illustrations to my Christian faith also rose to the surface.

Such as, God isn’t in a hurry, but rather patient and caring, not only for our spirit, and lives, but also for our desires. His timing is perfect.

He gives us the desires of our heart. He doesn’t forget or dismiss them, but rather He polishes, molds, and makes them purer – better.

It took twenty years to go diving, but getting to do it with my son was a blessing I never could have imagined that long ago.

There were moments during our training, especially during our deeper ascent to 70 feet, when my body and mind began to panic.

Clearly, we aren’t designed to be under water that long, or at that depth, and every instinct in us knows that. So for me, as I went deeper, I began to panic, or basically have a mini “freak out”.

Also, I couldn’t see my son, who was descending behind me at a much slower rate – probably because he’s much wiser. I was almost racing to the bottom, I think because everything in me wanted to race back up to the top as I was mentally fighting against my instincts.

However, I remembered our training and began concentrating on my breathing. I had air – it was strapped to my back – and I was okay – just breathe.

At the bottom of the ship wreck among the other students, I saw my son coming down and my nerves began to calm. I wasn’t alone and my son was ok. I was ok.

We swam around and eventually made our way back up. It felt great to be back up. But also, I was thankful I didn’t “lose it” down there. Now, we had one last training dive to do in order to graduate.

So, our boat went out to another wreck site, and we began preparations to descend once more. My son and I were both a little nervous about going again, but knew there was no turning back – we came this far and we weren’t about to let our nerves stop us now.

So, as we began our descent – we happily discovered it was much easier. I was fine and enjoyed the dive so much more! So did my son.

When we came back up we gave each other high fives and couldn’t stop taking about how much fun it was and how grateful we were to have graduated!

My faith also grew from this adventure as I realized my Christian walk in this world is very similar to my dive experience.

For when I may panic and/or worry in life, peace and calm returns when I remember to focus my sights on Jesus – and keep moving.

He’s my life line – like the oxygen tank. He’s my breath, my key to life, and to moving forward in a world that can feel dark, cold, and closing in at times.

Also, experience builds confidence – keep taking that other dive.

Likewise, the more time we walk in faith, the more confident we grow in God’s truth. We become wiser, stronger, more courageous, and even more aware and compassionate towards others’ fears and insecurities.

This experience served as a great reassurance that God sincerely cares about our desires, but more so about using them to help heal our wounded hearts and grow our faith.

This time with my son was truly a bounty of blessing upon my life, and I’m so grateful it turned out exactly the way it did, as it confirmed once more what God has been reassuring and healing me to know and trust:

Future – His perfect timing can be trusted in and with all things. Don’t rush, push, or hustle – He is here, He is present, and He is working for His glory, and chooses to use us in His plans at just the right moments.

Fear – He is our “oxygen tank”, and helps us move forward in faith. We don’t have to fear – we have eternal security.

Faith – He purifies and reshapes everything about us for better. He will even use a “dusty dreams” to help strengthen the bonds between fathers and sons, grow our faith, and propel us into new adventures for His glory.

Family – my wife not only bought me my dive watch decades ago, but she is also the one who pushed me to go on this trip. She was as much a part of it as we were and she had to face her own fears for our safety. God never wastes anything, especially what is done in love and faith.

I am forever grateful for this adventure that was bathed in prayer, praise, and purpose, and am eagerly looking forward to going again soon for our advanced open water training.

I know it will have its own challenges and intimidations to overcome, but with God, and my son by my side, I can’t wait for all the lessons, healing, bonding, and faith building to come!

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