I’d like to shift gears and share a little about summer again. This summer I had a wonderful time tubing and kayaking in the river with my friends. We went on several river outings and each one seemed more wonderful than the last. We always prayed before we left, and it’s a good thing!
On one outing, we had a group of adults and children in kayaks. Our river is very calm, which may sound boring to white water explorers. But for us, that is part of the attraction. There are a few small rapids to keep things interesting, but mostly we can just relax and have fun.
About a quarter of the way into our trip, one of the children got stuck behind a fallen tree. Her mom was right ahead of me. She steered over to help unlodge her child. In this placid river, there turned out to be a strong eddy behind the fallen tree. In this small place of no more than two feet around, the current was crushing. The mom’s kayak flipped. I was right behind and trying not to hit her head with my bow. In trying to steer away, I flipped too. I was sucked under the two kayaks and the tree.
I’ve been in an undertow before, in the ocean. This was worse, because my head was at least a foot below the surface. It happened so fast I didn’t get a breath, and the force of the water was strong. It kept pulling me down. I grabbed hold of “something” and started climbing. I didn’t realize the “something” was the stomach of my friend who had overturned. She had stabilized her feet and was able to get a grip on my bathing suit. She hoisted me to where my mouth was just about the water and I could breathe.
I continued to grapple with the tree until I could get my whole face above the water. I started to panic, because the force of the water felt crushing against my chest. I thought it would drag me under again. Then I took a moment to just breathe and be calm and realize I was going to be okay.
My friend told me to climb out along her kayak (firmly plastered against the fallen tree) while another friend, standing on a beach in the middle of the river, told me to climb out and jump in, and let the current carry me down the beach. At first, the thought of jumping back into a current was frightening. But as I edged closer, I saw that the main current wasn’t violent like the eddy. I jumped in and let the water carry me to safety. A few minutes later, my friend got her boat turned rightside up and got her daughter unwedged. All people were safely on the beach and all equipment was gathered.
I walked up to another friend, who is a prayer minister, and told her our other friend had just saved my life. Being a prayer minister, she knew to pray for God to lift all trauma off my body and mind. The trauma prayer was so powerful. Immediately it calmed me (I had been shaking and gasping for breath until then). I was able to get back into the water and swim around a little in the current, to see that my fear was gone. By lunchtime, halfway through the trip, I was bodysurfing in the current along with the children, and having a great time.
I left the river with a couple minor injuries – I had a palm-sized bruise on my thigh and something wrong with the arch of my foot, from grappling with the tree. That was small in comparison to being alive! I thank God for helping us that day – and for lifting off the trauma so we could continue to enjoy His beautiful creation in safety and fun. Since then, my bruise has healed, and my foot (after receiving a lot of healing prayer) is feeling much better. Go God!
I’m leaving tomorrow on a much needed vacation. I will see you back here Monday, October 8. Thanks for reading! 🙂