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Stop looking at the others

Just when I thought swim season was over, one of my granddaughters signed up for her school’s swim team, and three granddaughters will enroll in year-round practice. I’m actually thrilled with the news and before I could stop myself, I volunteered to drive to Metairie for one of those practices every week. Swimming is a sport that can be enjoyed lifelong. It’s also a sport that provided me with a lesson for life.

Whether or not the girls hear us, (and I don’t think they can, except for the screaming from my daughter Lauren, whose shouting shatters the average decibel level of the crowd), we yell encouragement to them while they are competing. “Pull!” “Go!” “Stop looking at the others!” “Faster!” “Straight ahead!” and Lauren’s favorite, “Don’t breathe!”

“Lauren,” I said during the middle of a close race, “Adeline has to breathe!”

“She can wait.” And I returned to my own cries of “Go, go, keep going!”

While each word we shout could be a lesson of its own (with the possible exception of a breathless journey), I’m most drawn to, “Stop looking at the others.”

Maybe that’s because I’ve spent a little time wondering if where I am at the age of 62 is where I thought I’d be. I’ve been guilty of looking around and judging myself by standards God never placed on me. As soon as I stopped the negative self-talk, I heard the voice of God, “Stop looking around at the others.” Galatians 6:4-5 supports that command, “Each person should judge his own actions and not compare himself with others. Then he can be proud for what he himself has done. Each person must be responsible for himself.”

I’m no longer looking around, and I’m staying in my lane… and well, that’s also a lesson for another time.

 

Ronny Michel can be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.