I have this little voice in my head that sounds remarkably like Dori, the clown fish from Disney's Finding Nemo. I love the part in that movie when Dori is in the water amongst several sharks and is frightened. To keep herself steady and focused, she sings over and over "just keep swimming, swimming, swimming; just keep swimming....".
Sometimes I feel like that little clown fish, swimming in the dark, being bounced from wave to wave, alone and afraid. Sometimes the only thing I can do is put a smile on my face and just keep swimming.
Last night I was reading in preparation for my RS lesson and I came across this story:
"Agnes Caldwell and her family traveled with the Willie handcart company and suffered terrible hardships with the others. When the rescue wagons came, they took on all the infirm and those who could walk no farther, but the able-bodied still had to press forward on foot. Nine year old Agnes and some of the other children decided to try to keep up with the wagons in hopes of being offered a ride. Sure enough, after a time one of the drivers asked her if she'd like to ride with him, an invitation she gratefully accepted. As she tells the story:
'At this he reached over, taking my hand, clucking to his horses to make me run, with legs that seemed to me could run no farther. On we went, to what to me seemed miles. What went through my head at that time was that he was the meanest man that ever lived or that I had ever heard of.'
I've tried to imagine this scene: I've pictured a little girl who had given everything she knew how to give for a cause she had been taught was dearer than life itself. I've wondered how it must have felt to finally be offered some relief and then have it just as suddenly withdrawn.
Agnes continues: 'Just at what seemed the breaking point, he stopped. Taking a blanket, he wrapped me up and lay me in the bottom of the wagon, warm and comfortable. Here I had time to change my mind, as I surely did, knowing full well by doing this, he saved me from freezing when taken into the wagon.'"
I smiled when I read this story thinking of all of the "running beside the wagon" moments I have had in the past few years. I too, have given all that I have to give, ready to collapse at times from the sheer exhaustion of it all. I try to remember the promise the Lord has made to lift us up and yet I often find myself frustrated, wondering why He doesn't just pull me into the wagon.
Maybe He is as the wagon driver. Maybe I am like Agnes, not fully aware of how He is trying to save me. I need to remember that He knows what I can bear and that my trials will not exceed my capacity. Perhaps, if I continue to hold on for just one more moment; if I keep putting one foot in front of the other; if I can just keep swimming, how great will be my reward.
"I have to trust that the Lord knows what he is doing with my life, even in those hard moments when I can't possibly see what he has in mind."