I grew up swimming. I love swimming. I swam all the way through college. I love the pool and the water.
Last week I was on vacation with the family. We went swimming. With my kids. My two oldest are now starting to swim. Pretty cool.
My daughter Sofia loves the jacuzzi. She would spend all day there if I let her, even if it was 100 degrees outside. As I jumped out of the jacuzzi and went back into the pool, the water felt colder. It reminded me of when I swam in college.
You see, in college, our workouts began at 6 in the morning. It was freezing outside. There’s nothing like being outside with no clothes except a bathing suit and jumping into a cold pool, especially in the dead of winter. Such is life!
But, there was something we could do to minimize the impact. We would take a cold shower. Call me crazy, but it was great! By taking a cold shower and getting a little cold beforehand, when we would jump into the pool, the water felt much warmer. IT WAS GREAT!
Coming from a jacuzzi and being warm, a pool may feel cold. Coming from a cold shower and freezing temperatures, a pool may feel warm. Even if the temperature of the pool is the exact same.
And therein lies the problem with racism and stereotypes. All of us come from different experiences, different backgrounds, different families, different values, and even different beliefs. The second many of us experience something different than what we know, we clash.
Now, obviously the biggest issue is the HEART. Our heart is the place where racism/stereotypes begins and grows. But, let me propose at least a “small” solution that I believe could be helpful.
Stay in the water.
You see, no matter whether I start out cold or warm before entering the pool, after about 5 minutes in the water, it all felt normal. Maybe part of the reason that other people/practices/cultures feel so different is because we’re never willing to spend any time experiencing them.
We jump in, decide we don’t like it, and jump out.
We judge before we’ve even given the idea a chance. Let me encourage you to do something today. Jump in and STAY IN.
13 years ago, when I wanted to learn Spanish, I went to Evelyn’s parent’s church. I sat in the services, listened to the preachings in Spanish, sang the Spanish worship songs, and spoke with anyone in Spanish who was willing to help me, correct me, and guide me. I jumped (and I’ve stayed for 13 years)!
You see, I believe that all of creation reflects God. So, the differences in so many cultures is simply a reflection of the greatness of God. How amazing is it that He has not placed all of His identity in only one culture. He has spread it around, so that in knowing others, we may know Him more!
So, in reality, the experiences that are different to us are simply a reflection of the SAME GOD, but approached by us through our different circumstances and experiences.
Find someone different than you today. Jump into the relationship, get past the beginning stage of “shock”, and experience something amazing, incredible, and wonderful as you realize that there is so much more to God and His creation than what you have experienced before today.
I give you permission to…JUMP! And SWIM!