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Safe in a riptide

From the June 2011 issue of The Christian Science Journal


When I first moved to Santa Monica, California, in a very warm July, I came to love the beach for its beauty and sense of expansive freedom. 

My young son had gone down to the beach earlier one morning with a friend, and I promised to bring lunch and meet the two boys later. I set up my beach chair and a blanket near a lifeguard stand, and left the picnic, my clothes, and towel on the blanket so the boys would recognize where we were to meet. I then headed for the sparkling, calm waters for a swim. I swam out from the shore to avoid all the children and boogie boards and enjoyed swimming in the Pacific for the first time. 

After about half an hour, I noticed that big waves started to break. I wasn’t concerned, but decided I should swim back to shore and look for the boys. However, as I swam strongly towards the beach, there was a sudden change in the ocean and I found that while I was expending a lot of energy, I wasn’t gaining any distance. No one knew that I was swimming out alone, and I didn’t think of the need to signal for a lifeguard at this point. 

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