Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Seizing those special moments with your children

My three sons stand with me on the bank of Bundick Creek. It's a special day in late May -- our first swim of the summer. The two oldest, Clay and Clint, know how cold the water will be this early in the season. Their 3-year-old brother Terry doesn't realize it yet, but will soon experience it firsthand.

I gather the boys around me. "Guys, we need to pray and ask the Lord to bless our swimming this year." I put my arms around them and pray, "Lord, bless our swimming this year and keep us safe. Amen."

Then I shove all three of them into the cold water. They come up hollering and yelling, and I know another year of creek swimming has begun. Quickly, while my courage is up, I jump in with them. The icy water takes my breath away and I think to myself, "This is absolutely crazy!"

The boys and I will swim often during this summer. Many times we will go to the pool at the nearby campground with its clear water and smooth bottom, but the best place to swim is right here in Bundick Creek. It is the spot where I, and now my boys, learned to swim. It's also where baptisms took place in my childhood years.

There is something about the smell of creek water, the current and the soft slimy creek sand between your toes that stays in your soul long after you are home and dry.

Later as I sit in the sand watching the boys splash and play, I think of how many children never experience the uniqueness of swimming in a creek, the exhilaration of swinging off a rope tied to a limb high above the water, or just soaking in the quiet tranquility of a sunset beside a creek bank.

Because my boys are growing up so quickly, I know the day will come when going to the creek with their dad will not be "cool" and I'll be begging them to go, instead of them begging me. A man facing his final moments of life, I've read, never regrets that he didn't spend more time at the office, but often wishes he had spent more time with his family.

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