Excited and nervous were just a couple of the emotions that consumed me as I got in the car to start the trip up north for the Trans Lake Tahoe swim (a quite large and cold body of water). My guide and friend Greg, as well as his parents, shared the car as we started our adventure. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, how the swim would go, but I did know that, no matter what, the experience would be worth it! About 6 hours into our drive, we stopped in Sacramento to pick up another blind swimmer who would be on our team. Gabe had done this swim the year before and it was great to hear about it from a blind perspective.
When we arrived at the cabin in Lake Tahoe, it was a relief to get out of the car and finally be “there”. We unpacked, and then left to meet up with some of the other swimmers and get something to eat. Just talking and laughing put me at ease, and I really started to get excited about the event.
The next 24 hours or so went by quickly, and before I knew it, I was getting ready to enter the water for the first swim of the event. Nervous, scared, excited, are only a few of the words that described the way I felt as I waited to take that first plunge. It was going to be a long day with a lot of swimming, and an epic journey to the finish!
After the first 30-minute swim, each of the other 4 swimmers and their guides also swam for a 30-minute interval before we started the rotation all over again. It was exhilarating as we waited on the boat cheering each other on while not in the water.
The day got hot, all of us got tired, and we looked forward to completing the race. One thing that hit me over and over while I sat on the boat cheering, as well as when it was my turn to swim, was that none of us could do it alone. It was an incredible feat of teamwork and determination to beat the odds and do something extraordinary. As I was swimming and the ruff waters knocked me aside, or I swallowed a mouthful of lake water and coughed, I remembered to face the challenging waters head on and to keep swimming. My turn would be over soon, and I would be able to rest on the boat as one of my incredible teammates took over.
After over 6+ hours of swimming and waiting, we finally reached the finish and walked up to receive our metals. We had done it, not as individuals, but together as a team.
My friends, the above account took place a year ago. It is still difficult for me to believe how different things are this summer and all that our world has endured over the last several months. Whether it is facing waves while taking on a team challenge in the lake or battling life’s difficult changes that a deadly virus plaguing the world has brought, you are powerful and can take on any challenge.
I want to encourage you to keep moving forward. With the grace of God and the help of others, you have what it takes to overcome whatever life throws your way! Each of us needs friends, family, and even people we don’t know or have not yet met to help us along our journey. Do not face difficult times alone. When we can do this, no amount of “rough waters” will ever be too much, and we can believe that the best is yet to come!