Sometimes things happen in our lives that we don't feel worthy of. The Lord has showered us with many blessings recently. This is the story of just one of those blessings.
It was Christmas Eve in the little house on the corner. There was last minute present wrapping. Christmas carols were playing. The kitchen smelled of pies and chocolate. The lights on the tree twinkled in the dark living room. The doorbell rang.
Please! No more goodies, I thought to myself. I should have asked for will power for my birthday in November.
One of the girls answered the door. In walked five young men and one young lady who I recognized as some of my husband's swimmers. I rose to my feet and invited them to come in and sit down.
"We don't want to interrupt your Christmas Eve," one of them said. "We just want to give something to Dee."
Richard, being the 14 year old that he is said, "Well, you're going to have to wait for him. He's in the bathroom."
"That's OK! We can wait." they replied.
I sent Richard upstairs to tell his father that he had company. Within a minute the master of the house was descending the stairs.
"We have something for you coach!" one of the young men announced and handed Dee a dark blue case with a silver handle...I mean a real silver handle!
He sat down on the sofa with me next to him and placed the case on his lap. Upon opening it he saw a beautiful silver sailing boat! We gasped together as he lifted the boat from its' velvet cradle. It was exquisitely detailed, shiny, and so heavy!
Dee was handed a letter. He unfolded the paper and began to read aloud,
"Dear Coach Dee,
From the team members at HAST we thank you, your wife, and your family for all of the sacrifices made to not only make us better swimmers but better people. The measure to which you have influenced us is invaluable and will inspire us throughout our lives. As a small token of our gratitude to you, we as a team, come together to..."
He became choked up and tears filled his eyes. He handed the letter to me and said, "you'll have to read this."
(backing up in time)
October or November of 2009~
Dee was on Facebook one evening and read a note from a coaching partner from his former job in Tacoma.Washington. Jay told Dee about an open water race coming in the summer that he had swam and actually won before. "You should train for it and come! It'll be great!" he had said. Dee had been mentioning on Facebook that he was training to get in better shape so Jay thought an 18.8 mile swim in open waters would be good for him! Well, the training might be good for him but in reality, there was no way he could participate. The event was held in Greece. Ah, there's the rub!
So, Dee went on his way still exercising and swimming and aiming for the team triathlon in St. George this spring.
Pshhh! 400 meters...really? A piece of cake! (really!)
Coach Dee mentioned the race to his swimmers at practice one day telling them he thought it would be a good challenge. Maybe he could find something like it a bit closer to home! Besides, he said he wouldn't dare go to Greece without me. Wise man!
(back to the present)
December 24, 2009
I handed the letter back to my husband knowing that I would choke up too."You need to read it," I gently told him. And so he began again.
"...we as a team, come together to get you to Greece in September of 2010. This is the least that we as a team can do to give you and your wife an experience that we know you will love. Through our team efforts we will raise the funds between now and August to pay for airfare for the both of you to enjoy this experience together. We know that you will represent all of us at HAST well.
The boat contained herein is crafted after sailing and fishing vessels of old that traversed the shores of Greece, trolling her waters; seamen guided by their captain. Let this boat represent how you continue to serve as our captain and also inspire you to swim and represent us in Greece. Thank you for serving as our coach, mentor, and friend.
The HAST Team Captains, Team members, & Alumni"
Dee was really crying now! His hands were shaking and all that either of us could say was "Thank you!"
One of the guys spoke up and said, "we want you to know that as of tonight we have enough money to pay for one ticket already."
So...the master is swimming his guts off, quite literally! He is the amazing shrinking man! The thought of him swimming for oh, about 8-10 hours straight has me concerned for him but I know he will be in shape when the time comes. He is determined!
As for me? I am in training too! The holiday goodies are all gone at last and I am exercising to be ready to look amazing as part of Dee's support team!
Please let me find that will power again!
(H.A.S.T. stands for Hilltop Aquatic Swim Team the local United States Swimming affiliated club. The team pronounces it as in haste!)