I almost drowned to death last Saturday, the day after my birthday.
Last Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day on the beach at Field 5 of Robert Moses State Park. The humidity broke after a whole day of continuous rain the day before. The Atlantic Ocean was a decent, swim-worthy temperature, courtesy of the northeast heat wave of the past two weeks. After lounging on my blanket for a while, I decided to test the water and was pleasantly surprised at how inviting it was.
I played on the shoreline with my daughters and while they gathered shells and mermaid's purses I swam further out into the incoming waves. I love the ocean and consider myself to be a strong swimmer, but the water quickly began to form rip currents. In a rip current, or "rip tide," the current is strongest at the surface, not in the undertow. This strong surface current tends to dampen incoming waves, leading to the illusion of a particularly calm part of the sea. Within seconds of entering the waves, with my feet still on the ocean floor, I was struggling to keep my head above water.
"This is crazy!" My mind screamed. "I am a strong swimmer, I can feel the sand right beneath me. Just swim back to shore!" But the water continued to toss me about and I became completely disoriented. Every time I managed to get my head above the waves, I gulped another breath of air and tried not to panic. On my fourth time above water, I opened my mouth to breathe, but instead I screamed, "HELP!!!" This is the closest I have ever been to death, or at least seriously thinking that I could die at any moment. Then, I heard a voice ask, "Help????". Suddenly, my heart burst open with joy! Joy that another living person could hear me above the thundering waves. Joy that someone was actually paying attention. I gathered my energy, lifted my head once again and yelled, "YES.....HELP!!"
A strong, loving, amazing kid who could not have been more than 17 offered his arm and pulled me out of the water and onto the sand. Not one of the lifeguards, just some normal kid hanging out with his friends at the beach. Two little words, "thank you," were all I had to give to the person who I called "my angel" for the rest of the day. I didn't even get his name, he ran off down the beach with his friends after pulling me to safety, as if he didn't even know that God was moving through him in that moment.
Reflecting on that day, I realized that God moved through me as well. I asked for help. Loud and clear.
Asking for help when I need it is never easy for me. Juggling the demands of family and career as so many of us do, I sometimes fall into the trap of believing that I can do it all on my own. When I heard my own voice scream for help, I was actually surprised to hear myself say it! It was almost like a deeper, wiser part of me (what some call "God") was speaking for me. And someone heard me.
Whether you are drowning in water, work, possessions or sorrows, please remember to let the deeper, wiser part of yourself ask for help. One little word has never brought me so much love, gratitude and joy.
Organize the small....make room for the BIG!!