The Legacy Of A Swim
Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just… Genesis 18:19
Smiling, blonde and beautiful, four-year-old Ariel Krespi swam alongside her father as reporters and photographers as far away as Great Britain took pictures and wrote about the two mile swim. What made this different from the thousands of dads who take their children and swim in the warm surf?
Swimming days for Irv Krespi, the father, were numbered. He had recently learned that he had a malignant melanoma which eventually took his life. As a long-distance swimmer, Irv had wanted his daughter to love the water. Before she could walk, he taught her to swim, and he believed that though she was only four, she could make the two-mile swim with him.
And sure enough–she did! “I don’t have an estate to leave her,” said Krespi. “This is my legacy to her.” For weeks they had trained, traversing the little pool in the apartment complex where they lived, and then came the big day. More than 100 spectators cheered the little girl and the dying father who so badly wanted his little daughter to succeed.
After the swim, a British journalist asked Irv why he thought the feat gained so much media attention. “Because…” Krespi started to respond but his eyes, already reddened from the salt of the surf, clouded and filled with tears. After a long moment he continued, saying, “Because it’s a love story.”
I don’t know about you, but the picture of that dad swimming alongside a little blonde four-year-old girl, is enough to break even a stony heart. I remember when my girls were four, and I also think of some dads who were always “going to take time off” to play with their kids, and then something happened and good intentions crumbled with loss.
There are several ways I could go with today’s commentary: I could ask you, “What legacy are you, as a parent, passing on to your child?” Stocks and bonds, the ability to swim in the surf, your integrity, a lively reckless faith in God, the ability to discern right from wrong, or an estate worth plenty of money? Will your son or daughter look back and think of the boat you helped build, the papers you worked on together, the fishing trips that you enjoyed, or may your son or daughter remember you as you took your briefcase and headed for the office?
I think of a young man who spoke of his father, saying, “Dad was a Phi Beta Kappa, a Rhodes scholar, and a company president, but he flunked marriage, friendship, fatherhood and fun.”
What price success?
The second emphasis I could make is, “Do it now!” You’ve always been wanting to swim in the surf, or make that fishing trip a reality, or build that boat. What are you waiting on?
Have you ever sat down and asked, “What legacy am I leaving my children?” No–not the money in the bank, or your property. “How will you want them to remember you?” What of the spiritual legacy you leave them? Does that not count as well?
Of Abraham, God wrote, “For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him” (Genesis 18:19).
Possibly the picture of a dad–dying with cancer, swimming alongside his little girl in the surf–creates a bit of guilt in many of us. Some of us can’t turn back the calendar and swim with our children, but for others, you can help make your child’s legacy a gift of yourself. As the “Nike” ad suggests, “Just do it!”
Resource reading: Psalms 86:11-17.