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In the Waves

by Forgiven

I was in my early teenage years and vacationing on the coast of Florida. Hurricane Opal had threatened to wreck our vacation plans, but it landed about 150 miles east of where we were staying. My parents and I walked along the beach, awed by the huge waves that pounded the sand. The strong undertow pulled at our ankles and calves, even in knee-high water.

Despite the red flags warning swimmers to stay out of the water, I jumped in the surf, eager to test my finely-honed swimming skills against those waves.

I am a powerful swimmer. I have been swimming since I could walk, but there are some waves that no one can fight.

We had been playing in the surf for about an hour, slowly getting exhausted but having fun. I had strayed down the beach from my family, venturing into the water up to my chest, jumping through the waves and riding them to shore.

One wave, a deep?sea monster cresting about five or six feet above the water's surface, caught me by surprise and pulled me under. I was sucked into the undertow. Every time I tried to surface for air, the wave sucked me back under it. I tried to fight my way to the top as my lungs screamed for air. I tried everything I had learned in all my years of swimming, but nothing worked. I couldn't get to the surface.

Suddenly, I was no longer terrified or desperate to breathe. I felt this amazing peace, a quiet assurance, a calm..."So this is what it's like to die," I thought. There was no question in my mind that I would die. I simply no longer was scared.

I don't remember what happened next. I blacked out. I awoke on the beach, face down, like a pile of driftwood. I was a full mile from my family, who didn't realize I was gone. I lay on the warm sand, washed by the waves and thanking God for the ability to breathe that salty air.

This spring, I went back to the place where I almost drowned. I walked along the beach, enjoying the feel of the sand between my toes and the gentle tug of the waves on my ankles. I realize that that incident all those years ago was not God's time for me to go to Him. But I now know that there is nothing to fear about death...I've seen it up close, and God spared me. And I'm not afraid anymore.

 


Forgiven is a senior in college, majoring in journalism and European Studies. She is thankful to God for life, love and liberty.