Don’t Be Shark Bait
In 2017, my youngest brother, Cooper, and I went through a SCUBA diving certification course together. We sat through classes and took quizzes. Four days in, we were beyond ready to drop the pencils and get in the water. But even though we passed those tests with flying colors, I was not prepared for our first dive.
It began just as planned: we flipped backwards off the boat and descended down the anchor line to the ocean floor. With our guide, we moved together in the direction of a gorgeous reef. However, the current was a little bit tricky to navigate, and I soon found myself floundering to keep up (as gracefully a four-year-old at a swim lesson). I was falling behind, I was exhausted, and no matter how hard I kicked, the space between me and the group was growing larger and larger.
At one point, our guide turned and held up her oxygen gauge, a signal for me to report how much air I had left in my tank (it’s very important to keep an eye on this when you’re 60 feet below the surface of the ocean). I looked at my gauge and was shocked to see that I was already halfway through my tank. Because you have to start your ascent when you still have a quarter tank left, that meant our time was running short. She looked at me and pushed her hands down, the signal to slow down. With her eyes still on me, she crossed her arms over her chest and kicked gently while the current carried her, another signal – try this.
I followed – doubting that this passive floating would be more effective than my Missy Franklin moves – but was floored to discover that not only was I now far more comfortable, but I was also flying through the water. The steadiness of our pace meant I needed less oxygen. Instead of flapping around, I was cool, calm, and gliding through the ocean. As a bonus, I probably scared off fewer fish and made myself a far less interesting attraction to any passing sharks.
Sometimes I feel like I did on that first dive trip – flapping my arms around, burning through oxygen and energy and brainspace, just trying to move faster. But, just like I learned underwater, sometimes the best thing to do is slow down and quit fighting the current. This weekend provided some much needed breathing space. I took a nap. I read some great books. I prayed and rested and went to mass. I had good conversations. Space heals. I don’t feel the pressure to fight or push or force momentum because I remember (as I need to do at least once per week) that God is in control. He is the current. And, sometimes, we just need to pull in our arms and go along for the ride.
What is God teaching you right now? Respond to this email and let me know!
- Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Jacques Philippe: This was the book I reflected on this weekend and BOY! Was it something. If you haven’t read it yet, jump in now.
What we’re loving lately (on the blog and beyond!)
- Patience is a virtue… and Katie Willem’s gorgeous piece on trusting in God when it’s hard is so inspiring and relevant. After leaving a job because she didn’t feel free to live her faith, Katie came to learn how peace can be found everywhere – even in the unknown.
Join our Book Club!
- We’re reading In the School of the Holy Spirit by Jacques Philippe (sensing a trend here?!) These book clubs are held on Zoom and will begin on Wednesday, August 12 at 6p PT // 9p ET. Please respond to this email if you’re not in our Facebook group and would like to attend! We’ll start with Chapter 1 on August 12 and go for three weeks.
Your story matters.
- We’re always looking for writers to join our crew. Check out the submission guidelines here, and feel free to message me on Instagram or reply to this email if you want more information!
Challenge: Do something you loved as a kid.
- Now that it really feels like quarantine is here to stay a while longer, I’ve found a lot of joy in doing things I loved as a kid. This mostly means reading more books (I’ve even pulled out some books I devoured as a kid!) but also writing, baking, and singing more. How can you incorporate something you loved as a kid into your week? Let me know!
The Best Muffins on Planet Earth
- If I had a nickle for every Nespresso Machine bought or Almond Butter Chocolate Muffin recipe made off my effusive recommendations, I would be living my dream life in an apartment in Rome right now. But since that’s not how it works, please enjoy my favorite muffin recipe here – I substitute almond butter for peanut butter. Fun fact: no one who has tried these muffins (to my knowledge) has not gone on to make them themselves. I am striving to evangelize the Gospel as much as I evangelize these products.
This piece originally appeared in The SundayMonday Tuesday Newsletter. Subscribe below!
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Jane Kennedy lives in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and works in criminal justice reform. When she’s not working or writing, she’s probably catching up with friends on FaceTime, getting lost in Rock Creek Park, quoting C.S. Lewis, or trying to recreate Salt and Straw ice cream at home.