She was struggling to stay afloat in an angry deluge of swollen, waters from Drover’s Creek. Frantically she looked around for a tree limb to grab but the current was swift and the banks were quickly disappearing.
She had no idea where she was. Swept away by forces beyond her control. Clinging for dear life to a section of an old door ripped off by the angry, swirling, churning blackness. Soon the dam would break and water would cover everything. There was no hope.
She sat in the red chair. She stared straight ahead. She did not look to the right or the left. To do so would take too much energy. She was drowning. She wanted to feel every moment and yet, she longed to be free of the things that were taking her under. Interacting with another would require things of her she could not, would not give.
Her son came and laid his dirty cheek in her lap. He picked up her hand and placed it on his head. When she still didn’t respond, he rubbed it back and forth over his short crew cut. The hair felt soft and natural and real. She tried to let her head rise above the swollen stream and reach up a tentative hand to connect but he would know none of this. Her hand didn’t move. She willed it to but it was static.
He stayed that way for awhile, head in her lap, his hand on hers moving it back and forth across his hair. Then, he stopped and ran outside to play.
She wanted to hug him and tell him that she loved him. She wanted so many things for him, education, job, wife, children, happiness. She wanted to tell him but she couldn’t move. The water was rising too fast. She was being swept away by an invisible force
The man came and talked to her. Was he her husband? She should talk to him? Should she respond in some way? He touched her lovingly, stroked her hair, hugged her. He told her she was beautiful.
Yeah, right. I’m beautiful. Can’t you tell I’m wet and I need a change of clothes? My hair is mangled. My lipstick is long since smudged off. I’m drowning here and all you can say is, “I love you and you need to eat something?” How can I eat when the water is rising and I will soon die from this madness?”
He brought her a bowl of soup with a spoon and a piece of bread and set it on the table beside her chair. Clam chowder wafted through her senses. Its creamy texture she could almost taste. The bread would be delicious dipped in the soup bits of potato and clam clinging along for the ride. She wanted to inhale it all in one gulp. It would not happen today. Today, she was drowning.
That moment, the moment she smelled the loveliness of the soup, was the moment it happened. The dam burst. Water poured over her carrying off into inky blackness. Although others would say she didn’t, she did fight it. She was a good, strong swimmer but not strong enough to stay afloat in these waters.
She heard him calling her name, shaking her, crying. She needed sleep. She needed to rest from the struggle against the flood that had overtaken her completely. It was time. She closed her eyes and prayed a simple prayer. “God, I give up. Rescue me.”
She felt herself being carried along by the waters but for once she was not fighting or struggling. She was falling into the arms of an almighty God who pulled her up from the depths. He held her close, ministered life and healing and goodness. He stayed the flood. He helped her walk across the water to herself once again.
He whispered to her. “My child, I will never leave you. Though the waters rise, I will help you overcome. You will rise above.”
When she opened her eyes, she saw her sweet cherubic boy with the crew cut. His red baseball cap almost swallowed his face. He wore jeans and a blue striped t-shirt. How long had it been since she’d noticed him? His baseball glove and ball in one hand, he tugged at her with the other.
“Come play ball with me, Momma,” he said pulling on her hand. When he tugged, for some reason she rose to her feet. The instant she did, she could breathe again. The water started to subside. She was walking above where the sun was bright and her own son was shining as he held her hand.
For now, for this moment she was a Mommy. Still, she lived in constant fear of the waters, deep dark waters that might appear at any time. Don’t sit. Don’t sleep. It will be OK. Just keep going. Survive. Push for more. Reach up. It was enough right now to have her eyes open. Wanting more would come after she had mastered the water.
Would it be too much to ask if she could walk on the water? Walking on the water would mean she would not have to submit to its relentless pull taking her under with the slightest slip of her foot. Walking on the water would mean more than surviving. Walking on the water would mean living for real.
Walking on the water is good but, running on the water would be even better. Running on the water would use pent up energy. Running would mean going towards a goal. Running would mean living life to the full.
Jumping and leaping on the water and not falling into the depths would be even better yet. Jumping and leaping on the water, even if the flood came again, would mean she could jump over the waves and leap up to avoid a catastrophe. It would abundance. It would mean not looking back.
Yes, was more, so much more. Certainly there was more than drowning but, also more than walking. There was life. There was abundance.
For now, it was all she could to walk looking always to the Source of her strength. She did not like feeling the pull of the water taking her under. She liked walking and playing with her son.
One day she would run, jump and leap. If she fell, God forbid, there would be a strong hand to rescue her when she cried out. And she would cry out because now she knew. Now she knew He cared. Right now, though, walking was all that mattered.
And she did.
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water..”
“Come,” Jesus said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:28-31 (NIV)