Surrounded by Blue Spruce trees in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, I had found a special spot on the edge of the small island I had come to work at for the next eight weeks. Listening to the waves lap gently upon the shore, I decided that I needed to stand up and stretch. The rock I stood on was wet and my foot slipped. I grabbed a tree branch above me, but it broke off and hit me in the head.
The next thing I remember, I woke up in the water, my face bobbing up and down below the surface. I was so disoriented. Where was I? What happened? After a few minutes, I pulled myself out of the water, stunned. I had knocked myself out and had almost drowned. On the first day.
After an evening in the ER making sure I hadn’t aspirated too much water, I was brought back to camp. The next morning we were to receive training in the different specialties that were taught to our campers. First up—waterskiing. Just a day after my horrifying experience, I was going to have to jump in the water and attempt something I had been afraid to do even before this! I sat on the edge of the dock until they told me I needed to learn to be the helper in the water
The way we taught waterskiing was by having someone in the water who could guide the skier. You sit behind them and help by pushing their skis in the right position and holding them steady as they get used to holding the reins. I didn’t need to actually be able to ski myself—I just had to know how to guide my campers in the right way, setting them up so that they could take off successfully.
I don’t consider myself a very brave person. In fact, something as simple as making a phone call can make my palms sweat and my heart race (texting is the best invention ever, in my opinion). There is one thing I learned during my time overseas, though. I could come behind people and encourage them to keep moving forward.
Bravery for me comes from community. I can’t do it on my own. Some of my favorite memories are sitting with other expat moms in our city and sharing stories about what it was like to raise kids there. I don’t know if any of us felt brave all the time, but we knew how to come behind each other, to hold each other steady in Christ. And we cheered when we saw someone successfully take off. Yes, there were a lot of times when we got wacked in the head by unknown circumstances, but there was always someone to encourage us to move forward.
Photo Credit : Unsplash