The Hidden Swimsuit
I have a vivid memory of the color. Mine was bright orange, my sister’s lime green. Mom had bought us matching swim suits with little skirts on them. Being only fourteen months apart Mom often dressed us like twins. We grew up as best friends and always looked out for each other.
It was camp meeting time, this meant ten days of stories, singing, crafts and the highlight, swimming! Girl’s ages 7 through 9 had one hour of swimming every other day. Camp meeting was a family safe place. We were allowed to come and go freely as long as Mom knew where we were.
It was swim day. I ran up the dusty road to our cabin. I was in a hurry, I didn’t want to be late. I dashed inside to get my swimsuit and towel but they were nowhere to be found. Right away I knew what happened. My sister must have been there before me and thoughtfully taken them.
I ran out the door and down the hot dusty road to the pool. The changing room was filled with girls. I soon spotted my sister already dressed in her swimsuit. When I asked her for mine she said. “I left it behind a bush along the road”. Knowing I would need it she had taken it for me but as she walked she got to thinking, what if I came back for it and it wasn’t there? Instead of turning around and going back to our cabin, she hid my swimsuit and towel behind a bush along side the road hoping I would see it.
My feet made little puffs of dust as I retraced my recent steps. I found my things behind the bush right where she had left them. I returned to the pool in time to hear the whistle blow and watch the girls get out of the water. I was hot, tired and desperately disappointed.
Now when we recall the story, we laugh at the ridiculous reasoning of a seven year old. However flawed her reasoning her intent was truly to look out for me.
A friend thinking to do a good turn pulls what he mistakenly thought were weeds. A house guest surprises you by doing your laundry and shrinks your new pants. Good intentions often backfire.
There’s a popular saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Although we recognize the meaning in a particular way I would suggest another. There are nearly as many stories as there are missing church members. Why? Often someone with good intent acted in a way that injured the other. We’ve all had it done to us and if we are honest there are times as growing Christians we have been guilty of doing it to someone else.
Years ago my memories of disappointment were replaced with the realization of how much my sister cared about me, her actions were truly an act of kindness. If you are one of the statistics, someone who has been chased away, I challenge you to try on a new “set of glasses”. It is likely you will find that, although you may have been hurt, the one who injured you only had your good in mind.
“I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, I will bring them safely home again.” Ezekiel 34:16 NLT