Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Miracle

by Julie Coulter Bellon

Last weekend my daughter attended a Young Women’s activity where they were tubing down a river in Idaho. She is a great swimmer, but had a life jacket on anyway, the river was fairly tame, and there was lots of supervision. She went down it a few times on a single tube and was having a lot of fun. Then one of her leaders suggested they try three people on a double tube and she agreed.

They started down the river and suddenly it was going a little faster than it had been. Before they knew it, they were in some whitewater rapids approaching a waterfall. They went down the waterfall and the innertube flipped over. My daughter was thrown off the innertube and sucked underwater, being pulled along by the rapids. She tried to swim, but couldn’t get her bearings. The rocks pounded her back and legs and she kept trying to keep her head above water to breathe and yell for help, but she was being swept away so fast it was almost impossible. Leaders heard her cries, but couldn’t get to her fast enough. People were trying to save her, but they weren’t fast enough. The only thing that was fast enough seemed to be the river that was carrying her further and further from safety.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a man reached down his arm for her and pulled her to safety. Bruised and pretty banged up, but safe, nonetheless. Miraculously, when she was finally pulled out, her flip flop that had been lost in the incident, floated by and she was able to retrieve it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that incident this week. The longer I live, the thing I see myself falling into is complacency. I feel pretty confident in a lot of areas of my life, pretty safe. I do what I can to protect myself as I navigate this world, just like my daughter did by knowing how to swim and wearing a life jacket that day. But sometimes, something unexpected happens and jolts me out of complacency. Like going over a waterfall and getting knocked off the innertube. I have friends and a support system in place, but even then, sometimes there have been situations where I’ve felt completely alone—that no one understood and that no one could help me as the rocks of trials and tribulations pound me. But always, before I am sucked under completely, there is one person who will hear my cries. One person who will always reach down to save me. That is my Savior, Jesus Christ.

The world we live in can sometimes feel like whitewater rapids. We are moving so quickly, with so many demands on our time and talents, that sometimes it feels to me like I can barely keep my head above water. Then, the small moments come, my own quiet flip flop miracle of retrieving something precious, like coming out of a trial feeling stronger and more empowered in my knowledge of the deep and abiding love my Savior has for me. Or the quiet moments when I’m reading my scriptures and the Spirit touches my heart to reassure me of their truth and I know I can face whatever is ahead.

I hope that someday I will be pulled to the safety of my heavenly home and although I may be a little bruised and banged up, I can be enfolded in my Savior’s embrace---feel the nail prints in his hands---and tell him how much I love Him before I thank him for being there for me, for not giving up on my rebellious soul and for letting me go through the rapids in my life that made me stronger.


At 8/09/2007 3:24 PM, Blogger Karen Hoover said...

This really touched me today, Julie. Thank you for sharing such a marvelous experience and flip-flopping it (pun intended) to the spiritual side. It's been one of those years for me and I really got what you were trying to say. Thank heavens, literally, for those helping hands that pluck us from the white water when we most need it. Beautiful blog.

At 8/09/2007 4:20 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

I'm so glad your daughter is okay. Thanks for sharing your wonderful perspective on the incident.

At 8/09/2007 11:23 PM, Anonymous Jennie said...

Great blog, Julie. I'm glad your daughter is safe. I can really identify with the point you made; I'm just too tired to comment on it now.

At 8/10/2007 1:57 PM, Blogger Anne Bradshaw said...

Scary experience, yet spiritual at same time. So glad your daughter was safe, Julie. Reading your account made me wonder how many times I've been pulled from disasters I didn't even know were around the corner.

At 8/10/2007 2:08 PM, Blogger G. Parker said...

Wow...retro stress! Well said on the Savior, thank you for the spiritual thought today. He is our miracle.

At 8/11/2007 2:48 PM, Blogger Cheri said...

Wonderful analogy, Julie---and echoing others, I'm so glad your daughter survived the river adventure. =)


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