Magic doesn’t simply go poof. It’s a chain of events mysteriously linked together and leading to a surprise outcome that tests believability. Recently I was amazed to find myself a link in just such a chain. And though it came and went almost unnoticed, for one life it was magic.
Link one (or at least the first I can identify): When I was very young, my extended family went on a picnic at a nearby lake. Out in the swim area was a slide . . . and it was exciting . . . and everyone headed straight for it. Years later all I remember is wading in over my head, drowning, and being picked up by a man – an uncle, I think.
Link two: Marie and I produced Connections newsletters for Advocate Health Care. She wrote the stories, I made up the pages – always reading her material so the layout would support her message.
One summer issue featured children and water safety. And a surprise to me: Drowning children don’t frantically wave their arms screaming for help – they’re nearly invisible. If you’re lucky/blessed, you see him or her trying to swim like a fish – underwater – and you can do something about it.
Link three: Traveling in GrandpaLyle’s Ark, whenever possible I park near a lake or river or even just a burbling brook. On this particular evening, however, the best I could find was an RV park with a pool. As usual, I parked and plugged in, but for some reason that I couldn’t explain, I did not grab a cold one and plop down in my easy chair.
Instead I dug out my suit and towel and headed for a semi-annual swim.
At pool’s edge before venturing into the very wet water I began chatting with some kids, all seven or under. While doing so I noticed a toddler in the bunch trying to swim like a fish without gills. Noone heard a sound – he was underwater.
The message from the newsletter flashed in front of me. He was drowning!
I scooped him out of the water. He was scared and sputtering . . . but healthy. Growing up and learning to swim the human way would have to wait.
Questions I’m unable to answer:
Why an article on water safety for children? The newsletter was for a hospital.
Why stop by an RV park with a pool? I didn’t usually.
Why swim on this particular occasion? I rarely did.
Why was that boy saved? I’ll never know.
Had I just completed a chain looping back to my youth?