Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Beach (07/04/05)
TITLE: A SOURCE OF LIFE
By Mary Frederick
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When I see or hear the word beach I recall the family beach days we enjoyed when I was young. We live about an hour and a half drive from a beach located on the Ohio River called Hanover Beach. I went to this beach for the first time when I was in high school with a group of friends. We had a great time and I could not wait to tell my parents about this beach because I knew that they would really enjoy it. Several weeks after my week at the beach my parents packed up the car and took off to the beach with several of my younger siblings, who took to the water like fish in the sea. This became their favorite vacation spot for the next few summers.
I never learned to swim because as a young child I went to a rock quarry near home which of course was forbidden by my parents, and the property owners, but we neighborhood kids called it our beach. One day I borrowed a yellow two piece bathing suit from my mother’s younger sister and we took off to our beach. Suddenly as I was walking through the water I stepped into a sink hole, which is a normal danger in such bodies of water. I could see nothing, I was under water and I was scared! I stood still and then I felt something hard against my right knee, I stepped up with my right foot and realized it was rock so I pushed myself up and pulled my left foot up behind me, suddenly both feet were on solid rock and I was no longer under water. I took a deep breath; I was safe! It did not take me long to get out of the water and as I ran up the hill I was on the verge of tears. I told my aunt what had just happened to me and we agreed to tell no one; we walked home. When my Grandma saw us she immediately knew where we had been; we received a serious tongue lashing and that is the last time I went to our beach! Swimming was no longer something I wanted to do.
Many years later someone pushed me into a swimming pool and that was more frightening than my episode at our beach. I still remember the feeling of letting go knowing I was going to drown that day. One of my friends yelled to others nearby and I was told later that as I sank into the water for the third time they reached me and pulled me to safety. It was then that I knew God was holding me in His gentle hands. I referred to God as my inner-tube while flippantly saying, since I cannot swim I will just rest in God’s arms and He will carry me through life.
Later in life while recalling these episodes I began to believe that God must have a plan for me. He must want me to depend upon on Him, to trust Him to guide and protect me. I further began to believe that there was something that God wanted me to do that I did not know about. I began to believe that there was a reason I did not drown and that I was alive because of God alone. As I began to take my spiritual life more seriously I often would sit near a body of water and meditate upon its power to overcome me, to pull me down, to take away my life. Eventually I began to compare the power of water to overcome my life with the power of sin to overcome my soul. I realized that sin could be as powerful as water. I no longer flippantly said, God is my inner-tube but I began to explain why God is my inner-tube.
A beach to me is a beautiful place but it is not the sand, the people, the plant life or even the blue sky that brings me joy and comfort, it is the water. At the beach I do not swim as others do I simply ponder upon the beauty of water as a source of life; as a presence of God and as a present from God my inner-tube. Beaches are everywhere but the beach I seek is the Heavenly Kingdom!
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