Friday, April 04, 2008

Hawaii Story 2

In 1968, we visited family in Wailuku,Maui on a mountain. We spent most of our time up there on the farm, but sometimes we actually went to the beach. I didn't know anything about swimming at five years old, and neither did my four year old brother and three old sister, so we kept close to the shoreline. What I remember was that there was no one there on this huge big beach except the family: my grandparents, Grandma Bruns, my parents, we three kids and Uncle Dominic, who was 15 years old. It was before the tourist industry swept in from Oahu, except for Ka'anapali Beach.

Dad and Uncle Dominic swam in the ocean a lot. They raced. They dived. It was strange seeing Dad having fun. But after finishing his degree in engineering, he had a lot to be happy about. On one particular outing, he and Uncle Dominic were swimming with us kids on their backs, sometimes two of us at a time. At first, I wasn't interested in going. But Uncle Dominic kidded me until I relaxed and wrapped my arms around his neck and out into the deep we went.

Something went wrong though. We were further out to sea than Uncle Dominic wanted to be. He looked back and we were too far away from the beach. I didn't know then, but I know now, we were in a riptide. If he tried to swim directly to the beach, he would get over tired and we still would be moving out to sea. I didn't know how to do anything but hold on, but my weight would probably tire him out even quicker. Like my dad back then, Uncle Dominic was muscular and in great shape, but he wasn't strong enough to fight the ocean. No one is.

My Hawaiian Granny was an experienced swimmer and saw that we were in trouble and needed to act fast. We couldn't hear her shouting, but she started to walk parallel to the shore and pointing in the direction she wanted Uncle to swim. He obeyed and we got out of the riptide and safely on the beach in a few minutes.

She did the right thing--if she or Dad jumped in the water, they would have been caught in the same current and have to save themselves instead of saving us. Uncle Dominic couldn't hear what she said, but saw what she was doing and remembered what to do in a riptide. Even though he didn't panic, he did seem momentarily confused about the distance. As a young man, he might have swam a lot, but never been caught in a bad current before.

There is a lot to learn from this memory, but as a Christian I think it can applied to the way we need God's Word to show us how to get out from something that sweeps us away from Him.
2 Timothy 3:16.

Swim back to Him.

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