The Swimming Lesson

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“The Swimming Lesson,” Ensign, Feb. 1985, 55

The Swimming Lesson

As a child, I was terribly afraid of water. My brother had drowned, and I saw water as an ugly enemy. I managed to avoid water and swimming until I was thirty years old and had to pass a swimming class to get my college degree.

I was terrified of the class, but my pleading to be released from it did not move my instructor. “Come with me,” she said. “You must understand water. It is substance,” she noted. “It is not nothing. Because it is substance, it will support you if you obey a few simple rules: fill your lungs with air; relax; fall back on the water.” I felt fear enveloping me. “Rule number four,” she added, “is trust me.”

I was overwhelmed with her concern for me. I had to try. There in the deep, deep end of that pool, I took a breath and forced relaxation. “Let go,” she begged, “Let go.” Reluctantly, I fell back into the water. All she had said was true, and as I lay calmly in the water, I envisioned the greatest teacher of them all—He was there too and had taught me faith.

Since then, I have known other kinds of fear, but always I hear the voice of the master whisper, “Let go … let go.” Then the seas calm and the storms subside, and in the darkness a smile creeps over my countenance. For faith, too, is a substance. Evelyn Allsop Dalton, Grace, Idaho

Illustrated by Julie Hooley