The Coming Times
The Swimmers
    And I see a man swimming in the Atlantic Ocean
    He is a skilled swimmer
    His strokes are strong and steady, their form correct

    And I see that he is followed by many others
    Not all as highly skilled at swimming as he is
    And the first of the group is about 3 feet behind him

    He is at the forefront and center
    And they are following him
    They keep their eyes upon him
    They are trusting in him to lead them to shore
    To know the way to shore

    And he continues his purposeful rhythm and his steady pace
    And they to the best of their abilities swim as well as they can
    To keep up; to remain within the group
    To not be left behind

    And are any of them left behind?

    Let me look, Mother

    I see that yes, there are stragglers
    The weak and the slow
    But they are not behind
    For stronger swimmers are swimming behind them
    Swimmers who could easily move forward to the front of the pack
    Are remaining at the tail end
    So that no one is lost
    Not even the weakest and the slowest

    So no, Mother, no one is left behind

    Continue dear one

    And now land is on the horizon
    The swimmer at the front sees it
    The ones behind him do not see it yet

    But the front and foremost swimmer sees it
    And it is all he can do to not double his speed
    So as to reach the land

    But he is mindful of the swimmers behind him
    He knows that he must remain within their sight
    And so he maintains his pace, neither increasing nor decreasing it
    Despite his oh so strong longing to just swim right for shore and now!

    And now the swimmers are near the point where the waves break
    And yes now all the swimmers see the land ahead
    Right past the breaking waves is the land

    And the lead swimmer shows them how to catch a wave
    And ride it into shore
    The breaking wave is actually a help; it is not foe but friend
    For it will ride you into shore more quickly than one can swim in

    And the lead swimmer is standing on the land
    Looking back at the ocean
    The group is still behind the breaking waves

    The first row are approaching the breaking waves
    And you can see their hesitancy
    Some of them remain in place as they wonder how to approach the breakers
    For they are not sure how

    And the lead swimmer sighs
    And plunges back into the water
    And returns to the first row of swimmers
    And coaches them
    He demonstrates the body position necessary
    He explains to them to let go; to relax; to trust in the wave to carry them in
    And with a few by his side, they ride the waves in together

    And the 2nd group of people have seen this
    And they now take their courage in their hands and do the same
    And yes, some of them are tumbled about this way and that
    But they all reach the shore
    They all safely reach the shore

    But the 3rd group is fearful
    It had not been able to clearly see the leader’s demonstration
    And it is looking at the breaking waves
    They seem so violent these waves
    And they are fearful

    And the lead swimmer takes a deep breath for courage and resolve
    And plunges back into the water
    And repeats his explanation
    And he has a few swimmers go ahead
    With only his explanation to guide them
    The swimmers already on shore are clapping and encouraging them on
    And when these few swimmers have safely reached shore
    The lead swimmers turn to those who are now next

    Are you ready?

    And yes they have seen their fellows, their peers safely make it to shore
    They have seen the more advanced already standing on the shore
    They have heard his detailed explanation

    Yes, they are ready!

    And they too make it into shore
    And some of them get frightened while riding the waves
    And so instinctively resist
    And therefore are battered about more than is necessary
    But they all make it in safely to shore

    And so the process repeats itself

    The lead swimmer remains out behind the breakers
    As he treads water and coaches and instructs and encourages
    Each successive group to get past their fear of the breakers
    To understand the concept
    That the breakers will actually relieve them of their effort
    And carry them into shore

    And line by line, group by group, they all
    With varying degrees of scrapes and of being tumbled about
    They all safely reach shore

    And now the weakest swimmers are up next
    And by now the lead swimmer is tired
    His legs are like jelly
    And he knows that if he waits for all the remaining swimmers
    He shall surely drown
    Of this there is no doubt

    And so he turns to the stronger swimmers
    Who had been protecting the weakest
    Keeping them from falling out of the group altogether
    Keeping them from discouragement and from giving up in fatigue

    The lead swimmer explains the concept and the technique
    Of riding in the breakers to these, the last and stronger swimmers

    And he asks them, he charges them with the task and the responsibility
    Of bringing in these the weakest of the swimmers in to shore
    And they readily agree

    And now the lead swimmer is truly fatigued beyond measure
    For he had been treading water a long time now
    He had been displaying patience and forbearance for some time now
    And he feels his endurance running out

    And no, no one is to be sacrificed for another
    He takes a deep breath of the salty ocean breeze for courage and energy
    And yes rides his last wave into shore
    And arrives safely

    And now the stronger swimmers each take charge
    Of a few of the weaker swimmers
    Some strong swimmers have as few as 3 weak swimmers
    They are responsible for
    Others have as many as five
    But each weak swimmer has a strong swimmer assigned to him
    And feels great relief

    And slowly but surely
    Each group of swimmers
    One strong swimmer along with 3 to 5 weak swimmers rides in to shore

    And Mother oh my dear Mother
    They all make it in!
    They each and everyone arrive safely into shore
    They each and every single one of these swimmers are standing on the land!
    Oh no!
    I am seeing one swimmer
    One lone swimmer caught in the breakers
    And oh dear, he seems to have got caught in a riptide
    And the look of utter panic in his eyes is clear to all
    And they look at each other
    And yes consensus quickly forms
    And they form a human chain
    From the shore to the swimmer in crisis
    They each hold hands and they each stand firmly in their place
    Until the very last swimmer reaches the one in trouble
    And picks him up and bodily hands him to the person behind him
    In the chain
    And so the one caught in the riptide is handed from one to the other
    To the next until he is finally on shore

    And this process repeats itself

    The human chain stands firm
    The person furthest out in the water; for he too is in the riptide
    Reaches to the person closer in
    And he too is handed from one to the other to the next
    Until he too is finally back on shore

    And this process repeats itself

    Until all are safely standing on the sand
    Until all are out of the water
    Until all are out of danger

    And now yes, the statement is true
    Verily it can be said that not one was lost
    Each and every swimmer from the lead to the weakest
    Is now standing on land
    And yes some of them are sitting on land
    For truly this has been a harrowing experience
    And some of them are only now beginning to allow the truth
    Of how close they were to drowning to surface to their consciousness
    They are only now beginning to allow themselves to realize
    And feel the danger they were in

    And yes they all sit down

    And some are in tears
    In tears of gratitude and relief
    In tears of exhaustion
    In tears

    And when they have been spent of their tears
    I now see them in a circle around a campfire
    And yes now they are eating and nourishing and replenishing themselves
    They are being restored to themselves
    Their nerves are being calmed
    They are being healed

    And yes they find great comfort in the food and in the fire
    And in their comrades
    All of whom, thank God, thank God, have survived this trek

    And yes now they have finished eating
    And they now bow their heads and silently give thanks to God for his mercy
    For the great mercy he has shown them
    In leading them safely home

    They thank God for their leader
    They thank God for each other and for the help of their neighbors
    Some of them even know to thank God for the help of the breakers
    Those breakers which rode them in home
    When truly they had been too tired to swim any further

    And now their prayers are over
    And the sun has set
    And they are now lying on blankets

    And they fall asleep under the light of the stars

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Copyright  2005  Theresa Law
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