Emotions transform your life; possibly change your day in an instant. Excited, nervous, happy, upset, anxious, sad, scared…….life is full of emotion. Some emotions we accept as day-to-day occurrences and others are so tenacious that the events causing those emotions become deeply engrained in our memories eternally. It is proven that when you experience being scared, there is a chemical reaction that happens in your body; either allowing you to remember every detail or blocking that memory for your own protection.
There have been 3 instances in my life when I have been scared beyond doubt. I may even go one step further and say that terrified may have been a better choice of description. Terrified to a point that I was consciously reminding myself, “breathe…it will be fine.” Ultimately these situations always came to an end and when they did, I felt extraordinarily thankful for the small things taken for granted on most days. Retelling the story to family and friends, I would find myself explaining that “someone was watching over us, “or “God was with us….” I believe that regardless of if you believe in God or not, things happen for a reason. Some higher power, divine being or infinite spirit had a hand in it.
The first of my terrifying situations was when my son Jordan was born two months early. On the second day of his precious life, he stopped breathing and turned blue as Jay and I were standing by his crib in the NICU. I have never prayed so hard, never trusted in God so intensely to stand by me; and at the same time never felt so scared, weak and out of control.
The second instance was when my daughter Kendall was almost a year old. After moving to Charlotte, we were shockingly told that she needed to have open heart surgery – to fix a murmur that she had since birth. I will never forget that morning at 6:15am as we handed our beautiful, apathetic baby girl dressed in a white infant’s hospital gown over to the nurses. The colors, smells, and sounds of the waiting room seem like yesterday, as we sat there for the next 3 hours waiting for news that she was out of surgery and stable.
The third occurrence was two weekends ago. It was a gorgeous Saturday to spend the afternoon on the lake with friends. The temperature was hovering around 90 with a slight breeze. The weather reported 20% chance of rain after 6pm; so we packed a cooler with appetizers and adult beverages (along with some drinks and snack for the kids) and headed out around 1pm. Meeting friends at an island, we beached the pontoon and settled in for the remainder of daylight. It was one of those days on the lake that the hours just seemed to evaporate.
Around 3:30 the winds picked up and someone mentioned that rain was in the forecast. I checked the radar map on my phone and noticed the huge bubble of green and red headed our way. Time to go. We quickly got the kids in the boat, made plans to meet up back at the docks and headed south towards home. The tree canopy on the island blocked our views of the sky to the west. As we pulled away from the island and turned to look behind us, the sky was an ominous black and blue color. The storm was literally on top of us. Boats speeding south on the lake resembled teenagers racing to get in line for concert tickets.
On our boat, I covered the kids with towels to keep warm and before I knew it, the rain was pelting us like snaps from a rubber band. With the sky to the south still looking clear we kept going, trying to out-run the storm and make it to safety. The lake was an ocean full of white caps with the winds lifting sprays of water into huge whirlwinds. At that point, I couldn’t tell if it was the piercing rain or the lake water splashing over the sides of the boat that was soaking us. Everything we owned on the boat was drenched within minutes; towels, clothes, cell phones, etc. Shivering and trying to keep the kids warm and calm, I realized that it was raining so hard we couldn’t see any more than 1 foot in front of the boat. Thoughts are racing through my head: the sky looks like a tornado, if we don’t get the bimini top down the wind is going to flip this boat, I need to keep my kids safe, should we just jump in the water to get away from the boat, Jay and I need life jackets, we are all freezing, Jordan is crying, Kendall is hiding under her towel, what is the plan, do we try to dock anywhere possible..……and then the motor cuts out. The boat won’t start. Now I am thinking, “Are we in a movie? Is someone filming this?” “Is this The Perfect Storm 2″”
To make an even longer story short, the wind shifts and we miss wrecking into a dock that housed two jet skis and a ski boat by 1-2 feet; and somehow in the five foot waves, paralleled up to the next dock about 200 feet away. As Jay and I leaned over the side to try to stop the boat from being slammed by the dock, I look up and see Chris standing there telling me to take the kids inside his house.
We never met Chris and Anna before, but it felt like we had known them for years within seconds. Watching the storm from the window of their house on Lake Norman, they saw us with the kids in the boat and ran out to the dock to help. Anna told me that she works every weekend; this was the first Saturday in over a year that she was home. She gave us clothes and towels while Jay and Chris anchored the boat. We realized just how bad the storm had been when I asked Anna why there was broken glass all over her deck & she explained that a branch had just crashed through her window a couple of minutes earlier.
My point of this whole thing, if you have taken the time to read it…….it can be terrifying when things happen in life that you have no control over, but especially when the people you love most are involved. My emotions ran the gamut that day and it is a day that I will never forget. However, I have complete faith that God was with us that Saturday, as well as when Jordan and Kendall went through their issues when they were younger. There is a reason that the boat’s motor cut out where it did on the lake, that there was no lightning in that storm, that we didn’t have any other kids on the boat with us as we usually do, that Chris and Anna were home that day. There is a reason. Many people might view this as coincidence or luck, but I think it runs deeper than that.