This is Gael


This is Gael. He’s one of the kindest most considerate kids you’ll ever meet. The little things matter to him. Yesterday, knowing I’m not the best swimmer, Gael offered me his goggles. “Here, use these, they’ll give you courage.” At first, I thought, “You tryna say a 6’2” man who can barely swim is a coward?!”

I wanted to explain to Gael that my issue wasn’t cowardice it was competency. I love being in the water, I just don’t have the ability to swim well. I can doggy paddle, I can tread water, but I don’t know how to for real swim. Instead of defending myself, I just took the goggles and said, “Thanks, chief.”

With the goggles on I went under water and immediately felt different - Didn’t have to worry about plugging my nose, like I usually do. Didn’t have to worry about being blind under water, like I usually do. I could see everything and both hands were free. That’s when it happened, a surge of courage burst through me, I suddenly felt capable of more. After touching the floor of the pool and attempting to nail down my freestyle technique I set my sights on the diving board. In all my years working this camp I’ve never tried diving off the diving board. I just figured it wasn’t a wise move for me, I didn’t want to make a fool of myself, I didn’t want something to happen and have a lifeguard save me from drowning. Okay, fine. Maybe Gael was right, there was cowardice in me. I was afraid of looking weak. I was afraid of looking incompetent, so I never tried. But, today was different, today I had my trusty goggles on.

Goggles in place, I stepped up and, whispered, “Lord, don’t let me drown,” and clumsily hopped into the water. There were no points gained for style or technique, but I did it. This thing that I never had the courage to do, I did. And it was all because of Gael, here.