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Help I am a Pastor and I am Drowning

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I was fifteen years old working at Camp Mohaven, a summer camp in Ohio. On one particular hot day, we were short on lifeguards. The camp director asked some of the auxiliary workers if we could stand guard by the pool to serve as an extra set of eyes. I volunteered.

It is easy to let your mind wonder. Even though you are standing only feet away from children in the pool; daydreams become the reality of the moment. In just a few short seconds, my mind had escaped into another paradise. Suddenly a fleeting moment, I snapped out of my fantasy to witness a youngster drowning in the swimming pool. There was panic in his eyes. He was slowly bobbing up and down, trying to catch his breath for the brief seconds when he was able to make it above the surface. Our eyes connected. He knew I had seen him. He dipped back down under the water. It was as if there was an invisible undercurrent, pulling him down to the bottom of the pool.

I froze. It was as if time had stopped. I could hear the other children in the pool laughing, and enjoying the hot summer day, unaware of the tragedy that was unfolding. I couldn’t move my body. I lost my voice. I was motionless. From my peripheral vision I saw Mandy starting to descend from her lifeguard chair. She was about ten years older than me. She wore a bright red swimming suit that validated her authority and training. She didn’t say a word. She didn’t run, scream, blow her whistle, or panic. She fixed her eyes on the drowning boy, never turning her head or losing focus. Mandy walked passed me and quietly slipped into the pool. Less than thirty seconds later, the nine year old boy was lying on the concrete, crying and burping up chlorinated water.  

Who are you in this story? Are you the drowning victim who is hoping and praying for a rescue? Are you the untrained volunteer who doesn’t have a plan? Are you Mandy the seasoned lifeguard who saved a little boy due to training and preparation?

Dr. Kumar Dixit, Ministerial Director