|Florence May Chadwick|
Yesterday I was teaching a Relief Society class on the Holy Ghost and how the Spirit operates in our lives. During the discussion I mentioned how every once in a while the Spirit gives us experiences that allow us a glimpse of heaven. We get a taste of what it will be like for eternity if we endure to the end. This is what C. S. Lewis referred to as Joy—a feeling of the infinite with all its accompanying goodness.
When I made this comment a woman in the class explained that usually the Spirit speaks to her in her mind, but she had also experienced these moments of extreme happiness and because the Spirit usually speaks to her mind she didn’t realize those feelings were coming from the Spirit. Then she asked why God gives us these moments. I didn’t answer the question well and while she won’t see this I feel compelled to answer it now.
My Father raised me on stories and one of those stories was about a woman named Florence May Chadwick. She was a swimmer (like I was—only she was a LOT better!) In 1950, Florence swam the English Channel in 13 hours and 20 minutes which was a world record. The next year she swam it in the other direction also breaking the record with a time of 16 hours and 22 minutes. Then in 1952 Florence attempted to swim the 21 miles from Catalina Island to Palos Verde, California.
That day a thick fog made it difficult to see even the boats that accompanied her. After a little more than 15 hours of swimming, tired and unable to see, she told her mother, who was in one of the boats, that she didn’t think she could make it, but she swam for another hour before finally asking to be pulled out. As the boat continued on she discovered that she had stopped swimming about one-half mile from her destination. She later told a reporter, "Look, I'm not excusing myself, but if I could have seen land I know I could have made it." Because she couldn’t see, she lost hope. Two months later Florence tried again. The same fog set in, but this time she continued on despite the fact she couldn’t see and achieved her goal in 13 hours, 47 minutes, and 55 seconds.
I think the Lord knows that you and I need a taste of what is to come in order to keep us “swimming.” When we see and know what is waiting for us, it is easier to hang in there when the “fog” of life is trying to blind us and keep us from our destination. Therefore, he gives us tastes of Heaven while we are still on earth. So look for those moments, recognize them for what they are, and cling to the memory of them.