OK, I have a confession: I never learned how to swim. As a kid, my parents put me in swimming lessons, but I was so terrified by the thought of drowning that I refused to let go of the edge of the pool. My dad would try to teach me how to float on my back, but I refused to relax my arms enough to stay still. Instead, I would frantically clutch for him, trying to feel steady.
But despite never learning how to keep afloat, any time I saw a swimming pool or an ocean, an immense urge to swim overcame me.
Recently, I spent some time in Florida, where I met Joanie, a 94-year-old woman who swims every week. She taught me how to swim in one hour. She said she could see my hunger for swimming. She recognized that desire to leap headfirst into the deep.
At the end, Joanie congratulated me and left me with some wisdom: She said that when she was young, there were endless expectations on women: to marry, to have children, etc. “And then it was all over,” she said. She told me that because I could swim, I could go anywhere and be anything. I could swim from island to island because I was free.
In Zadie Smith’s novel On Beauty, a poet named Claire argues that “this … is when we become truly human, fully ourselves, beautiful. To swim when your body is made for swimming. To kneel when you feel humble. To drink water when you are thirsty. Or — if one wishes to be grand about it — to write the poem that is exactly the fitting receptacle of the feeling or thought that you hoped to convey.”
Lately I’ve been retracing my steps, returning to the origins and retraining myself in the art of wonder. I’m swimming and biking, scribbling in my poetry book, and creating riffs on the piano. I am floating. Because I’ve spent so much time outside lately, my freckles have reemerged, each one is evidence of where I let the sunshine in.
There are a lot of heart-wrenching events taking place right now. It is important for everyone to return to the depths of what makes them feel whole and let sunlight into those places.
1. God Loves Autistic People the Way We Are. Churches Can Too
Here’s how your congregation can be more accessible for the autistic folks in your midst. By Chloe Specht via sojo.net.
2. Going Nowhere Fast
The strange past and even stranger future of the stationary bicycle. By Jody Rosen via The Atlantic.
3. Kendrick Lamar Is Forcing Us to Reckon With His Brokenness
Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers asks us to acknowledge the complexity of ungodliness. By Da’Shawn Mosley via sojo.net.
4. What It Would Take to See the World Completely Differently
The marine biologist Rachel Carson saw immense value in helping the public cultivate a sense of wonder. By Anelise Chen via The Atlantic.
5. Christians Can’t Be Lukewarm in Denouncing ‘Replacement Theory’
White supremacy will have no place in U.S. politics once it has no place in the U.S. church. By Adam Russell Taylor via sojo.net.
6. Living the #ConventLife
Sisters are joining TikTok to offer a window into their cloistered experiences. “We’re not all grim old ladies reading the Bible,” one nun said. By Anna Furman via The New York Times.
7. Faith Coalitions Are Preparing for Immigrant Advocacy Beyond Title 42
How advocates hope to overhaul the U.S.’s dysfunctional immigration system, from asylum to border security and migrant protection. By Sarah Einselen via sojo.net.
8. Citing Religious Freedom, Hundreds of Jews Rally at the U.S. Capitol Against Roe's Overthrow
Jewish views on abortion are complex across the ideological spectrum, but law and tradition do not ban it. By Michelle Boorstein and Ellie Silverman via The Washington Post.
9. How Multiverse Stories Invite Us to Envision Jesus’ Alternative Community
Everything Everywhere All at Once and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ask if we can find some way to escape the madness of our reality and find something better. By JR. Forasteros via sojo.net.
10. Buffalo Shooting: Liz Cheney Accuses GOP Leadership of Enabling White Supremacy
In the wake of the Buffalo supermarket shooting, Cheney is calling on Republican leaders to “renounce and reject” white supremacist views and those who hold them. By Rachel Treisman via NPR.