Upper Room Readers,
I wrote about my experience as the coach of a Special Olympic swim team. Since I wrote today's devotion, our swim team has grown to 65 swimmers, one of the largest in the state. I am blessed to have a dozen assistant coaches, many of whom have been with me for over a decade. We swim for three hours each Saturday, in three different groups. During the summer, ten of our swimmers competed in state-wide competition. On our team, we stress achieving “personal bests,” with lots of positive reinforcement while still having demanding practices (many swim about a mile total in our practices). At the end of each competition season, we celebrate with a swim meet for just our team. Then we have a pizza party, and give awards to the most improved and hardest-working swimmers for that season. We are a family.
Like the blind swimmer I wrote about in my devotion, many of our other swimmers also have physical disabilities. A few arrive to practice with walkers or wheelchairs. Some cannot speak. Yet they all do their best and support their teammates in every competition. I honestly believe that I receive more from these swimmers than I give to them, and I am honored by their joy, trust, and diligence.
In addition to being a swim coach, I am an environmental lawyer. During President Obama’s administration I was the Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General leading the United States Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. In that capacity, I led negotiations with BP and Volkswagen for their respective environmental violations. Following that position, I was the president of the American College of Environmental Lawyers and am presently a principal in an environmental law firm. My wife and I are members of a United Methodist church in our town. My wife has been an acclaimed teacher, a hospital chaplain, and a music director in past churches. We have two wonderful daughters and four grandchildren, all of whom live in Virginia.
— John Cruden