I never really understood how someone could drown once they were big enough to stand in the pool and were a good swimmer. I mean, I would understand someone drowning if they were shipwrecked at sea or in a catastrophe of some sort, but not in a recreational setting. That was until it happened to me.
It was a hot Summer and the Kids were enjoying their Summer Break from school. We had decided to go with a group of folks on a weekday to a swimming hole near our home. I was the only Dad going as most of the other Dads worked in business offices; while I was working from my home office. So, off we went with a dozen or so Families and thirty plus Kids. We were having a great time and, being the only Dad on-hand, I became the resident boat ride for the younger kids. On my last boat ride of the day, I decided to take my Son and two other 3 – 5 year olds with me for a final spin in the pond. None of the Kids knew how to swim (or had on life jackets), but I had one on each arm and one on my neck (kind of piggy back style). I was being careful, but, nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.
As I stepped, Kids in tow, my foot went into a big hole in the bottom of the pond and I went under with it. I couldn’t stand and my first impulse was to thrust my arms with the Kids to the surface to keep their heads above water. They were OK for the moment, but I wasn’t. And, then, I took a big gulp of water into my lungs via my mouth and nose. I tried kicking with my feet, but I couldn’t get up to get any air due to the Kids I was holding above me. My feet were frantically scratching on both sides of the hole that I was in. But, I couldn’t get up. I was drowning and I knew it.
As suddenly as I fell into the hole, I felt a pair of hands come under the arches of my two feet and slowly push me back up to the surface and back towards shore. I got my feet on some of the murky surface below and made my way to shore. All of the Kids were safe and none of them had even realized what had happened to me. I set each one onto the shore and then fell down on the ground and looked up towards Heaven on my back and thanked God for saving me; but, more importantly, for saving the Kids. Had I drowned that day, all of us would have drowned. None of the other Parents had even noticed any of my ordeal and the pond was dark and murky – we would have been lost for sure…
Life went on as normal that Summer until a few months later. We were on vacation and got a horrible call about one of the other Kids. She had drowned accidentally in our neighborhood pool. It was, as you can imagine, just awful. The pool was never the same and neither was her Family or our Community. She was a little angel and we all still miss her dearly.
It wasn’t for a while that I could reconcile why the Lord had saved her once with me and then would come back to take her Home so soon afterwards. I got the answer in one of the most unlikely places – my old best Friend from High School. I was catching-up with him via phone and he mentioned that he was now an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) on an Ambulance Crew. I asked him how his Faith was after doing a job like that – we used to go to Church together as teenagers, so I was concerned about the stuff that he had seen while on the job. What he told me that night, I’ll never forget. He said, “You know, sometimes we pull up on a car accident that looks like a total wreck that nobody could survive. And, then the driver will get out of the car without even a scratch. The next night, we might get a call for a minor fender bender where nobody should be hurt and we’ll find that someone has been killed. It just doesn’t make sense at times. But, at the end of the day, this job has strengthened my Faith. I’ve realized that when it’s your time, it’s your time – whether you’re in a major car accident or in a minor fender bender.”
I still think about that Summer day from time to time. I think about the littler Girl that would go Home with the Lord just a few short months later. And, I’m humbled and reminded that “when it’s your time, it’s your time”… Too many people worry about dying and they miss out on the living. God’s taking you Home when He needs you and thinking about it won’t delay it or accelerate it. So, now I let tomorrow worry about itself and try to be Faithful in whatever time I have with everyone. May God bless you with the same perspective to put your trust in Him. God bless!!!