Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Over My Head -- Under Water

When I was a boy my mom took us to Jones Beach, Long Island, New York. This beach features miles of white sand fronting the Atlantic Ocean. We spread out our blankets and mom proceeded to lecture us about the dangers of the ocean: rip tides, killer waves, and fish big enough to swallow little kids in a single gulp.

She then set up her chair and took out her book as we ran for the waves. Her caution to stay within sight was lost as we plunged headlong into the waves, feeling the shock of the cold water hit our sun-baked bodies. Life was good that July day.

As was my custom, I ignored mom's warnings and headed down the beach out of her sight.

I happened on an area without other swimmers and ran into the surf. The wave hit me and carried me out, tumbling me head over heels. I held my breath and started to be dragged down into the depths of the water. My toes searched for bottom without finding it.

My lungs ached as I reached my hand upwards.

A strong hand held me and pulled me up out of the ocean. I gasped for air. This man had witnessed my wave encounter and swam out to pull me up and tow me to shore.

My experience of being in over my head -- under water is one I never wish to repeat.

Over the years I have had the same feeling of helplessness as I found myself in situations where I was in over my head.

Even if I can't always avoid these circumstances, I've learned to survive them. I relax and let go of my concerns, issues, worries and frustrations. When I stop trying to control the situation I experience that same feeling of a strong hand guiding me to the air.

Sometimes less struggle is the best way out.

It also helps to learn from our experiences to avoid repeating them -- like I did. From that day on whenever mom said to stay within sight ... I did.

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