UNDER THE SURFACE
Mitch loved floating in water - for it gave his tired body a break from the burdens of gravity.
When he was a toddler, tiny Mitch would cause lifeguards to panic because he dove under the water, held his baby breath, and swam like a little fish for long periods of time. None of the other kids his size did anything like unto him, and because he behaved so irregularly, they often worried he was drowning. As Mitch grew older, he didn't have the muscle strength to swim like he used to, so he would go to the deep end and sink as far as he could. On this occasion, I captured his expression while under the surface. It was then and remains today, a magical thing to see.
We could always tell how long Mitch had been swimming by observing the redness of his eyes. On one occasion after seeing his eyes were especially red, I encouraged him to close his eyes in the pool and Mitch looked me square in the eyes and said, "But dad, I want to see what goes in in the deep. What if I miss something cool?" I giggled and kissed his tender forehead.
I am grateful my son taught me to swim in the deep, open my eyes, and learn to look under the surface of things. It often isn't easy, and sometimes, like Mitch, my eyes also sting ... but, I've learned, it is only under the surface we learn the important things.