A buddy of mine from Church invited me to do something that these Northerners call a “polar plunge”. Upon learning that this consists of diving into lake Michigan on New Years Day, I of course laughed my head off and thought there was no way I would do that.
My mind was changed, however, and I decided to try it out when a couple of kids that I teach in my Sunday School class told me that they were doing it, and I was a wimp if I didn’t. That’s right… I was peer pressured into jumping into a frozen lake by a couple of 14 year old girls!
I showed up at the shores of Lake Michigan and the dozen or so of us that showed up from my ward were all smiles and jittery with nervous excitement.
It was a tad cold that morning: 8 degrees F with a 25 mph wind that put the wind chill well below zero. The wind was so strong and crazy that someone had to be standing inside of our changing tent at all times or it would blow away.
We all got changed and ready to go in, and at this point we were still smiling!
We had to hike across the ice before we got to the edge where the liquid water started. I put on a pair of sandals for this hike, but my feet and toes were so frozen at that point that after a few steps, my toes couldn’t flex well enough to keep the sandals on my feet and they fell off after just a few steps! Funny thing is, since I couldn’t feel anything on my feet or toes, I didn’t even know they fell off until I got out of the water and went looking for those same sandals.
The deal was, we had to dive in, get our head under water, and swim out to the wooden pillar and then (hopefully) swim back.
I have to admit… after hiking out across the ice in naught but my skinnies with the freezing wind making me all but completely numb… jumping into the water didn’t seem too bad! It did take my breathe away though. The worst of course was getting out of the water, and subjecting yourself to the single-digit air and the 25 mph gusting wind.
We all managed to do it and dive completely in. The really funny part was watching us all afterward trying to do things like put belts through belt loops, dry off our toes, tie our shoes, and take down the tent. It’s very enlightening to see just how many everyday tasks take warm, nimble fingers!
You’ll also notice that we don’t have any “after” pictures. Apparently, pushing down the little button on a camera is a task that also requires nimble fingers, and none of us had the gumption to try. We all mostly just hustled it to our cars and tried to get our heart rates up about 20 bmp!
To congratulate us on our significant accomplishment, our Church Bishop even had an email waiting in our inboxes when we got home that included his congratulations along with this picture:
He thought he was REALLY funny.