The sound of the waves with their rhythmic ebb and flow beckons me to come closer.
My bare feet, cold and full of seaweed and pebbles, squish into the wet, brown sand.
I hesitate---not sure if I really desire to leave the peace and calm of the shore. I step ever so slowly and cautiously into the frigid, murky waters of the Long Island Sound.
Curiosity and courage move my feet forward as the water becomes deeper and colder. I swim. And swim. And swim.
I soon grow weary from swimming. The ocean is vast---it makes me feel so small. Looking around, I see no one. I feel scared and alone.
My body starts to naturally tread water. I breathe the ocean air while trying not to panic. Instinctively my body alternates between swimming and floating on my back. I question why I ever left the safety of the shore.
Before I realize it, I am in the middle of a storm at sea with the treacherous waves and hot, beating sun overtaking my body. It is terrifying. I am trying to save myself.
I thirst. The water is salty and not fit to drink. I am hungry. I have no food. My body is wracked with pain from head to toe.
The waves are relentless and keep pulling me under.
All is black. I can't find any light.
Where are the life boats? Where is help when I desperately need it?
I cry out in prayer to God to save me! Heal me! Please take away the awful pain and darkness of this experience! Please! I can't take it anymore.
My screams of terror and desperation are not heard in the middle of this gigantic ocean. Or are they?
My body is in so much distress, and I am pushed beyond my limits. Or so I think.
The sea becomes stormier and scarier by the minute. I am pulled under time and time again thinking surely I will be taking my last breath. For good.
This is it. I feel it. Lost at sea.
Wait---I have so much more living to do! Please God, help me. Save me from myself!!
Then, far off in the distance, I see a light.
The waves calm down and I begin swimming toward the light.
I forget about my weary, thirsty, hungry, and sun-burned body. I keep swimming, not by my own strength, but by God's grace.
As the light appears closer so do the glimpses of a shoreline. Muffled voices cry out to me. I am giddy with excitement! I smile. Swim. Laugh. And swim some more.
Help is on the horizon! God IS saving me! He is sending me a miracle.
People are running into the ocean to save me. They care for me. They love me.
Yes, I have a lot more living to do.
New hopes, new dreams, new God-sized purposes to fulfill.
After seven very long years at sea, I am braver, stronger, and wiser. I know how to better care for myself whether in the midst of a raging sea or on the calm, sandy shore.
This intentional knowing serves me well.
Without my new found faith in our Almighty God, I would have remained in the darkness.
He continues to sustain me on and off the shore.
I did not choose this incredible and chaotic journey.
It chose me.