I couldn't help but recall a discussion I had at a meeting after a meeting recently. There I was, happily swimming along, minding my own business (and tuned in to my tunes) only to notice him prepare to join my lane. He had the choice of 4 others, but plumbed for the central lane where I was (and had been for over 2k). Mindless perhaps. Irritating beyond belief. Unforgivable, I'd say.
This is not the first time that I've encountered such an invasion. There is, I think, no coincidence with the fact that I swim in the lane that is often marked 'Fast'. It attracts a certain type of swimmer. Me, for one. I head for the middle lane, especially when the pool is less than busy. It's the fastest way to swim. Theoretically, there's less turbulence.
It was going to plan.
Until he got in.
My Thursday swim was cruelly interrupted. It didn't take much, but I lost my stroke, and then my breathing. There was nothing for it, but to stop. Which wasn't the worst thing in the world. I was greeted by my Lucozade, and was able to check my progress.
There was no stopping the splasher. Big dramatic turns. He had arrived. And I had a choice...
I could continue to swim. Or I could get out slightly prematurely.
I chose to swim.
In a different lane.
He brought to life something I know to be true. I am powerless over people, places and things. I am, of course, grateful for the reminder. And then there's the bigger picture. In the grand scheme of things, the difficulties I encounter today whilst trying to do 'life on life's terms' pale into insignificance and will, if all goes to plan (and a swift inventory is taken followed by a gratitude list), be forgotten about by the time I return to take the plunge. I might even grow to like swimming alongside the wall.
"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation - some fact of my life - unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment...
Nothing, absolutely nothing happens by mistake. Unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes."
From the Big Book, the Basic Text of Alcoholics Anonymous (4th edition) p. 417