When I was a child, our family used to take day trips to the New Jersey shore. I enjoyed playing in the sand and the shallow, foamy water. The waves could be rough, though, and even though I knew how to swim, I was reluctant to venture out far—worried I would get knocked over and never find my way up.
One day my father, who must have been aware of my fear, convinced me to go out with him into deeper water. He led the way, navigating the rolling sea until we were in a calmer place, beyond where the waves break.
Holding both my hands, he let me experience how the ocean would gently lift us up and ease us down. Smiling, he said, “See? It’s so easy! It’s so nice out here…so easy…”
I cherish this memory of my dad, and appreciate its reminders of trust and peace. I can still feel the water lifting us up and easing us down. The memory has been especially comforting to me recently in my care of Dale.
Dale’s moods can sometimes fluctuate abruptly, like waves of rough water that I don’t see coming. His “ocean” of feelings shifts from calm to choppy and then back again with no obvious cause.
I can easily feel knocked over, sand and sea in my nose and mouth, struggling to find my footing and air to breathe. Even though I recognize the disease at work and know ways to cope, I sometimes lose my balance.
However, as in my childhood experience, others are present to help and reassure—through prayers, contacts, visits. They help “right” me, carrying God’s Love and reminding me that even in deeper waters, I am not alone. Love—like the buoyancy of salty ocean—continues to lift me.
“But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.”
Isaiah 43:1 – 2