There are days when life seems to be missing that one thing that would make my day absolutely perfect. On those days, and there have been a lot during this pandemic, I imagine myself floating effortlessly on my back in the deep blue sea. Gazing up at the night sky full of stars, full of hope, full of peace. As I drift away and my eyes close for a deeper experience, I breathe in slow, and deep as my nostrils fill with the salty air, filling my senses with a feeling of security and relief. I feel the soft kiss of rippling water on my fingertips and toes. The indescribable silence that embodies my fully submerged ears just below the surface, transports me, spiritually to one of God’s greatest gifts. A peace that surpasses all understanding.
I can remember my first swimming lessons at the local YMCA in the small town I lived in as a young girl. My grandmother never liked for me to spend time splashing around in the pond with my cousins at our family reunions. I could barely go waist deep before I would hear her yelling from the picnic table “alright Kathy you gone to far, get back to the edge!” I was never allowed to put my head under the water. She just did not like it at all. My mom was a whole different creature about water. She could swim, and we would venture to Myrtle Beach all summer long. She would make potato salad and fried chicken. She would pack fruit and drinks and we would be off.
We would leave at the crack of dawn and ride for what would seem like hours to get there. We would find a great parking spot, grab our blanket and toys and picnic basket and go! Man, the ocean breeze, filled with the smell of sand and salt and coconut tanning oil. I was in love. The crashing waves against my ankles as I stood still and the ocean sand disintegrated from beneath my tiny toes.
Mama would pick me up and carry me out into the water, at least waist deep, then she would turn away from the ocean just as a wave came to slap us in the back and carry us back to shore. I would get scared and scream. but I knew she loved me and she was just trying to teach me about the love of water and the freedom that came with it. She would soon discover that my fear of water didn’t come from me, but from my dear sweet grandma.
I believe that as strong as my grandmother was, her fear of water came from a place in her childhood or young adulthood that I will never know about. I believe it is one of those dark places that I mirrored from her as a child growing up. I would discover as an adult that even though my dad’s favorite past time is fishing, he doesn’t like bodies of water. Maybe one day I will ask him if he knows why our family ran away from the freedom of water. My mom however, knew the joy of being able to swim and she signed me up for lessons. In the dead of winter and after dark no less! So I took lessons when I was 8 or 9, my God it’s been a long time. It was another time in my life I believe that I had to put my full trust in the unknown.
I now know that in the unknown Jesus is always there. I realize that in the moments throughout my childhood when I had to face physical and sexual demons, He was there to make sure I didn’t die from my injuries and afflictions. I know that in a world so big, that not everyone will be blessed to have a happy childhood. Someone has to be a survivor, some one has to champion the slowness and the steadiness of the race. Someone had to be afflicted so that others could have hope in the healing. Healing in the restoration to wholeness. The Holy Bible teaches us that God knew me before I was formed in my mother’s womb, He brought me forth and called me boldly into creation. He placed me under the indisputable covering of a strong and enduring bloodline. A bloodline that was steeped in strength, and toil. Immersed in love and pain. Stretched from slavery to freedom. Drenched in His DNA. All of this inside of me. I was created to survive, I was created to thrive in the worst conditions. I was created to be victorious in the valley of the shadow of death. I was created a warrior.
The revelation of my true creation would come into focus late into my adulthood. After my children were born, after I had been married at least 7 years and after a knock down drag out fight with the Almighty himself. I would like to tell you, that in that moment, I emerged from my prison and began to reign victoriously, but the truth is, that was 15 years ago and I am just beginning to understand my purpose and how to walk in it. If you recognize yourself along the way, then I know that I am on the right track. It doesn’t matter your color or size or sex or race or sexual preference. Come journey with me. let’s #lovelaughheal together.