FSATAT is looking beyond the present and investing in the future. We desire to fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith.
I belong to a weight reduction, health accountability group at my YMCA called Guts and Butts (G&B). (I am not making this up!) I am the youngest member (58). Our group is the main competitor of the YMCA perennial favorites, Silver Sneakers (SSs) who are fortunate enough to have Medicare and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Insurance with no deductible. We G&B have hybrid high deductible insurance plans of dubious quality. We have periodic contests with the Silver Sneakers. So far they have beat us every time. Last Christmas we had a contest to see how many pounds each group could lose between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The SS champs lost 150 pounds. We gained a net 9 pounds. They received gift certificates for Subway. We gave ourselves a party.
Last Easter we competed in the swim-the-most miles contest. Each person was on an honor code and wrote his daily mileage on a poster board behind the life guard, who very carefully scrutinized both pool performance and log in totals. Once I logged a mile. The life guard scowled at me. “Well, if you consider the back strokes, it was a mile,” I sheepishly offered. Of course it took me about half the life span of the teenage life guard sitting on his exalted lifeguard throne, to accomplish it, but I did it. Really. The G&Bs logged 150 miles. The SSs soared at 350. They got free coupons to the local Subway. We had a party.
Well, another contest is in the works this year. We are led by a fairly aggressive 75-year-old Amazon, Margaret. “This is our year,” she prophesies. The SSs all have little red roses embroidered on their swimming suits. Wheezing B&G High Pockets — we call him that because that is how he breaths after even the most moderate exercise and he wears his pants up too high above his ample stomach — has a USMC symbol on his left forearm. That is the best swimming motif we can sport.
The SSs have the newest rental lockers sporting top-of-the-line master combination locks. The G&Bs can’t be sure we can remember or combinations, so we try another approach. We put our stuff in the broken lockers hoping that potential brigands will ignore our depositories.
I am an inveterate G&B. I like to swim my laps and pray and take my time. I have no destination, no pressure to perform. I love my swimming and I love my God. And in that pool, with other G&Bs, I find my way again to the sublime perpendicular line that tells me again, for one more Christmas, good and faithful servant, you have reached the end and need to turn around. I don’t know how to flip over like the SSs, but I know how to turn around and go back in the other direction when I meet the wall. And that is enough.
Not that I will win any coupons to Wendy’s this Christmas. But this I know
— I will enjoy my time with brothers and sisters, old and infirm, faithful and unpretentious, who, if we can’t win a contest, still have fun along the way. And sometimes, when I am in that surreal pool lap “life,” I just enjoy my God so much. I can feel His presence. I can feel His pleasure. And that, is enough winning for me.
And I know, no matter what happens, at the end of the great swim I am going to party with my brothers and sisters — and no doubt a few SSs too — at the end of the long swim. The God of history is faithful and true.“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” ~ 2 Timothy 4:7