Even in the Swimming Lane

I have been working out at the YMCA for the past several years in an effort to get in better shape and be more healthy. It turns out that swimming laps in the pool has been tremendously helpful not only for my physical health. It has helped me stretch my spiritual muscles too.

Let me elaborate. In praying about practicing The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations, God graciously pointed out to me that I could practice them while doing my laps! Yes! If we have a desire to be intentional, God will grant us the opportunities—anywhere, at anytime!

One day while dutifully swimming from one end of the pool and back again, I “noticed” a young woman whom I hadn’t seen at the Y before. As she drew closer I could see she was very pregnant—and the thought jumped into my head that getting into the pool would probably feel very good to her.

As she started to swim, and as I continued my laps, I began to practice another Art: “praying” for her. How easy it really was to offer prayers of encouragement and hope for this soon-to-be mom. I assumed that noticing and praying would be my Arts to practice for the day.

But God had other plans and opened the doors for me to practice the Arts of “listening,” “asking questions,” “loving,” and “welcoming.” When we were both at the same end of the pool, I said hi to her and asked her if the water felt good. Risky? Maybe so. We don’t always know how someone will react when we reach out, even casually, but she began to talk about her pregnancy and how grateful she was for the scholarship which allowed her to swim at the Y, especially since she was pregnant with twins!

Soon, after only a few questions from me, Angela was telling me all about her family, her job, her parents and their divorce, her relationship with her mom and dad, her husband’s job, and even some about their financial situation. Had God ordained our meeting?

Normally, I wouldn’t invite someone I’d just met to come to a Q Place, but as we conversed and I listened, I sensed the Holy Spirit nudging me to tell her about our Q Place (spiritual fitness class) at the Y.

Angela was very interested. It was late November, and I told her about the discussions we planned to have in December revolving around the birth of Christ. Angela asked questions about when we met. Then she said she would see if she could come, and in the locker room we exchanged phone numbers.

And guess what was waiting for me when I got home later that day? A friend request from Angela on Facebook!

As it turned out, Angela had prior commitments on Tuesday mornings and she wasn’t able to come to our Q Place in December, but since we had become friends on Facebook, I was able to see the pictures of her beautiful twin babies, born this past January. We have stayed in touch, and after the twins are just a bit bigger, I plan on inviting her to join a Q Place at the Y this fall.

I am thankful that The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations helped me to be intentional about reaching out to a stranger at the YMCA.

Relationships progress and spiritual conversations take time. But I will continue to pray for Angela and her family, and I really wouldn’t be surprised if I see her again at the YMCA this fall—maybe in my Q Place!

Nancy Klaassen
Q Place Catalyst and Initiator


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