I love to swim as exercise. It’s sweat-free, quiet, and I don’t have to think about anything other than my breathing. It’s great, unless I need to share a lane, and then it’s horrible. My calm, carefree glide becomes an anxiety-ridden countdown as to how many laps I need to complete without running into the intruder in my lane. This week, a gentleman came out of the locker room, observed that every lane was occupied and began to assess who he might inconvenience. Sure enough, giant flippers and all, he splashed into my space. Every lap, I dreaded the moment we would intersect. Which would I rather hit -the lane rope or his ridiculous fin? Why couldn’t I swim faster and end this nightmare? As other lanes became available I thought, surely, he might move, but no, there he remained. I suppose I could have switched lanes, but it was the principle of the matter. As we both finished our last laps, he smiled and said, “Sorry, I didn’t realize there were other lanes, I was focused on trying to pass you sooner – thanks for pushing me.” It was a little creepy, but nevertheless made me think. The same interaction and yet two very different perspectives – one of dread and one of motivation. Are there others in my life or ministry who I hope will “stay in their lane” or am I “prepared to listen and learn”? Am I letting God splash in my space? Do I dread encounter or am I ready for how it will push me? Maybe I have more to work on than just my freestyle.