At the YMCA pool every weekday morning at 5:30am you can find 4 people. The lifeguard, 2 lap swimmers, and me. You can also find near silence. Aside from the swish of the water and the hum of the pumps, there is the occasional lifeguard who plays music…but not very loud. The first day I decided to try this time slot, I was amazed at the dedication of these people this early. One, for a job, and the others, for their health or a triathlon they are training for? Who knows. We don’t bother each other. It’s an understood quiet time. 

 

Fall is such a frenzy. The rush of school starting back and all that it entails. I am so happy to have some quiet. I used to always use times when I was alone to remember. Fall is one of my favorite times for memories. It’s like the wind shifts a little and a few leaves fall and my mind is back to a time when Shane coached every night and our boys hung on his every word. All the way back to when he had planned the perfect proposal and we were just kids ourselves. My counselor once told me that trying to hold onto long term memories can make short term more difficult. I can’t remember my new student’s names as easily anymore. In my defense, I am now teaching semesters and so I will have close to 275-300 students by year end. I hate it only because I want to know them all and their stories stick better than their sweet names. 

My little sister recently joined me for a few mornings at the pool. I was very surprised to hear of her more than slight fear of water. She is a very successful CrossFit owner who helps change people’s lives for a living. She’s a gorgeous beast and can do anything. We were raised in the same household, but very differently. She asked me if I remembered having swimming lessons. I did, she didn’t. That’s a whole other blog…about doing hard things and how you never know what someone considers a challenge. 

Fully expecting to sing some old songs in my head or just play my memory recall as usual on my first day I was there swimming, I noticed the bricks. I just looked up and there they were. I thought I might use them to count my laps and instead I realized I had several people on my heart to pray for. Every day since, I have decided to pray over each brick. There are 29 of them. I am never short of people who God places on my heart. 

My secretaries at school, the tech department for our school system, all of the people at the pediatrician’s office, coaches who pour over my boys every day, parents with seniors, parents with first time kindergartners, my boys’ teachers, my bosses, our campus pastor and his family, my friend who retired, naming family members and something specific about them, my students (even if just by face for now), my husband’s dad, the person I noticed crying in their car at a stop light because I’ve been there. I could do this all day. I will just look up and, no joke, someone will come to mind.  

On some of my lowest mornings, I have felt the exact opposite of what you might expect. I will look up to find my first brick, not knowing even who or what will pop into my head, and it will be a praise. There is so much to be thankful for in my life and I believe that the Holy Spirit is reminding me of that when I am feeling sorry for myself. Things have been revealed to me that I had forgotten about. Little things that were done for our family right after losing Shane. You are in such a fog pretty much that whole first year that I am so happy to be recalling some of these blessings now. 

I hear people talk about how lonely they feel. I am fortunate that I have only had a few moments when I have felt truly lonely and it’s often in a room full of people. I am happy about these bricks and what they have revealed to me about my prayer life. How rich it can be and how much there is to be thankful for. How so many people have prayed us through our days and I know they will continue to do so. Now, our pool is closing for maintenance and repairs for two weeks coming up so I have decided that I will need to count the cracks in the sidewalk and am already praying for cooler mornings.

About 

Jennifer Farley is a 44 year old mother of 3 boys. A veteran educator, she enjoys teaching 7th graders the wonders of STEM. She is just 4 years into her journey as a widow. Her husband Shane passed suddenly at the age of 41 on April 27, 2015. Her boys are each competitive athletes and Shane was their devoted coach and biggest fan. Both children of divorce, Shane and Jennifer never wanted solo parenting for their children. She gains strength through her faith and her fierce community of family and friends. Jennifer finds solace in writing and sharing her story. She has a blog of her own and has written for TulsaMoms. Jennifer was asked to speak recently at a Women’s event and will soon be featured on the podcast ‘A Frayed Knot‘. When she is not chasing the next big tournament with her boys, Jennifer enjoys her monthly book club, vintage finds, and gardening.
You can also find her on Instagram : @jjo_farley