“God’s mercies are new every morning…”
We took road trips across Nebraska every summer of my young life. The Rambler station wagon blew cold air between the seats to protect my brother and me from the oppressive heat. We always stopped late afternoon at some dinky town with a Dairy Queen and a motel with a pool, as much to save my parents I suspect, as us restless kids.
I remember the year some kid’s Dad got pre-occupied outside the pool house smoking, as Dads did in those days. From where he stood, leaning against the wall, he couldn’t see his young son floundering in the middle of the water. Neither my brother nor I could swim, and we grew anxious watching the rising panic on this kid’s face. He was in trouble, and there was nothing we could do about it, or so we thought.
We turned towards our Dad, fully dressed from the road trip, resting against one of those metal and glass tables motels leave hanging around for parents. Dad was an engineer, quiet and methodical, but on this day, he went into a high alert I hadn’t seen then and have seldom seen since. He was in the pool in a heartbeat, left hand on the side of the pool, right hand extended to grab the kid who had splashed below the surface a third time.
In later years, a therapist asked me how I knew my Dad loved me, and I remembered the small town and the drowning kid, and the pool. And it came to me. If Dad did that for a complete stranger then, Dad would always be there to do that for me. It didn’t occur to me at the time that I would grow up and leave home, yet I knew and would later remember that there was a reliable safety net in the world up underneath me when I did.
That’s why we talk about God as our parent, isn’t it? God lets us get into as much trouble as we can muster, but always sits by the side of the pool just in case. And just for today, I’m grateful that God has us, and that strange kid, and all of us, regardless.
Prayer: Thank you God, for your tender mercies day by day. Like a lifeguard on duty, you keep your eyes peeled for trouble. Thank you.
God’s grace, mercy and peace,
Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Senior Minister, The Community Church of Vero Beach, Florida