Sunday, August 17, 2008

Small price to pay for the life of my kids.

I have had a lot to think about since last week. Isn't it frightening how thin the line between life and death is? Have you ever been in a situation where you realize one or two seconds later would have been too late? Have you ever had some life experiences replay themselves for you and you realize how dangerous the situation was (and could have been), or marvel at the fact that everyone is safe and wonder how & why they made it out safely? Or even in my case, a few times, I wonder why I was spared, and need to thank the Lord for that blessing. I laid in bed the other night realizing how many times I was within a snap of the fingers from fatality, whether it was me or my kids. Many many near misses. So many that I realize I must have a purpose here. Same with my kids. They were spared because they still have some purpose to fulfill here.

So what brought this on? Well, last week the kids & I (and a good friend of mine) went up into the mountains to find solitude. We ended up at a beautiful lake. Of course, we have to swim. How can you not? Anyway, we were there for a while, and Forrest was doing really really good to stay right by us, where the water was shallow enough that he could stand and keep his head well above the water, and of course stay within our sight. He started heading towards the shore and all of a sudden dropped down and couldn't get his head above water. I was in the water and to him within seconds. But had my head been turned the other way, even to flick a fly off my arm, I wouldn't have seen him go down. Even though he was right there in front of me. It would have been too late and I would have lost him. So while I was in the water with him, I felt around with my feet and found that there was a hole in the ground that was a few feet deeper, then it went back to the other depth. As if there once was a large rock that had been removed and left a hole. That's what he stepped into. He went down with the hole. Had he been 1 foot either to the left or the right, he'd have been fine. How fitting to life that is, when we think we're safe and have good footing, that's when the ground falls out from beneath us and catches us off guard.

Then about an hour later, Emma was playing on a floating log that she found earlier. She could sit on and use it as a floatie. So she sat on the log and lounged, and the current slowly took her further and further out. I started getting nervous, so I was calling to her to paddle herself back to shore. Britt swam out to be with her and to help her come back. The log was protesting swimming against the current, so they abandoned the log and swam on their own. It's Emma that has the calcium buildup in her muscles and arthritis, so I was getting nervous about her muscles fatiguing before she got to shore. I was watching them work and work and not get much closer. At that time I was telling Jess that I was worried about her wearing herself out and not being able to swim the rest of the way. Then I called to her and asked if she wanted me to come in and help her. Of course when she yelled back yes, she slipped under the water too. Britt was doing her best to keep Nem above water, but was struggling because it was deep enough that even she couldn't stand to hold herself up. So for the second time, I jumped in, fully clothed, to pull my struggling child out of the water. It's amazing that I was able to make it out to her so quickly. It seems that I was out there within a few seconds, where she was a good 50 feet or so from shore.

So twice that day, I watched two different children come painstaking close to drowning. Not because I was a bad parent and wasn't watching them, and not because my neglect put them in danger. No. Not that at all. In fact, they're both excited to go to the lake again next week. It's just that life is such a fragile thing and can be taken away in the blink of an eye. We may not be aware of how many times we almost cross that line. But I wonder what it is that I am supposed to learn from this experience.

The only fatality reported that day in the lake was that of my beloved cell phone, which was in the pocket of my shorts when I jumped into the water the first time. Small price to pay for the life of my son.