When I started my car this morning, the display on my dashboard said it was -5 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Poor Suzy the Cruz-e chugged into action despite the frigidity. I let her get her bearings while I took Chester outside for his morning ritual. He did what was needed and then gladly went back into the house. Grabbing my bag, I rejoined Suzy for the short drive to the gym.
At 8:00 am, the parking lot was less than half-filled. With most of the area schools closed this morning, many likely chose to stay at home and not force their cars (or their bodies) into action. But I hadn’t been to the gym in a few days, and I was feeling the need to move a little bit.
I climbed aboard the elliptical machine, plugged in my headphones, and listened to the Today Show. The gym seemed a little warm to me, maybe to overcompensate for the -25 windchill outside. I had to keep pushing myself through the 30 minute workout because I was fighting nausea.
I did finish the thirty minutes, then did a little bit of work on the weight machines. Still fighting nausea, I went to the locker room and changed into my swimsuit. It’s always a bit of an internal dialogue to switch out of sweaty clothes into a swimsuit.
“Come on, you know you will feel better if you get in the pool for a little while.”
“But it’s such a struggle to undress and dress.”
“Stop whining. The water will be worth it.”
“I could just shower — that’s water.”
“Put on your swimsuit.”
Once the swimsuit was on, I took the mandatory pre-swim shower then headed to the pool. The larger pool, which is around 80 degrees, was filling up with women in preparation for a water aerobics class. But my destination, the 92 degree salt water therapy pool, had just one person in it. I walked down the steps into the soothing water and was overwhelmed by the amount of sunlight in the room. One whole wall of the pool area is glass. It’s an easterly facing wall, so the sun, as it rose, was pouring through the glass. I sunk into the water, lifted my face to the sun, and leaked an audible, “Ahhhhhh….”
For those moments that I was floating, walking laps, and stretching in the therapy pool, I totally forgot how cold it was outside. With the sun beaming in, and the warm water soothing my joints, I could have believed I was swimming outside in the summertime.
I didn’t stop there. I moved from the therapy pool to the jacuzzi and soaked for a little longer. Then, I showered again, got dressed, and headed home to start my day.
It didn’t sound like a great idea to climb out of bed and go out into the freezing weather this morning. I didn’t really want to stand outside to let the dog take care of his business. I didn’t love doing thirty minutes of aerobic exercise. Or lifting weights. Or changing into my swimsuit.
But I loved sinking down into the water. The warm, soothing water. The healing, restoring water.
A lot of life is going out into the cold, waiting for a dog to relieve himself, and trudging away on an elliptical machine when you think you might actually throw up. But every once in a while, more often than I am sometimes willing to admit, we get to sink down into some warm, soothing water with sun shining on our faces. I don’t want to live for those moments, because a lot of good comes from the tough stuff of life. But, when I get an opportunity to sit in a jacuzzi, I want to drink it in, soak it up, and be restored.
These are the “times of refreshing [that] come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength.