Monday, July 9, 2007

My First Rescue

The first week of lifeguarding was uneventful...the second week I had to perform my first rescue.

No one was drowning...everyone in the lake must wear a life jacket and have passed the swim test...but a 6 year old boy went off the blob...

THIS sit on one end and someone heavier than you jumps off the tower landing on the opposite end and launches the former high into the air and then into the water.

When the little guy came into the water he was in the middle of somersaulting backwards and landed hard on the back of his neck. When he surfaced he was crying and screaming..."My back hurts! My back hurts!" and he wasn't moving...just floating.

All the training immediately kicked in. As I went in all the neck/back injury training ran through my mind...don't move him...get his head, neck and spine braced until he is on a backboard....etc.

When I got out to where he was floating...he was able to move his arms and legs...the shock of landing so fiercely was wearing off...As I checked him out...slowly turned him and swam him to shore I talked to him.

When I got the little guy back to shore he went off to play on the water slide...all recovered...I then looked down and realized I HAD MY PHONE clipped to my shorts when I anxiously leaped into the water!

And now...NO PHONE! It was somewhere in the lake. I announced to the swimmers..."MY PHONE IS SOMEWHERE IN THERE!" you get out to the blob, the water is 20 feet deep! My youngun' lifeguard buddy, Andrew, who can hold his breath for a LONG TIME and put up with me choking him while trying to rescue him in our training...courageously put on goggles and was ready to search the mucky, grassy lake for my phone.

Just as he was about to jump in my little friend Julia (pictured)excitedly exclaimed, " I think I am stepping on your phone!" Her dad went under and retrieved it.

My phone had been submersed for about 5 minutes. Everyone at the lakefront felt so bad. They had such encouraging words for me..."Your phone is DEAD! It will NEVER WORK again! We are SOOOO sorry you killed your phone...but you did it rescuing the perishing!" "Kudos for you...too bad for your PHONE!"

Well, the spirit of non-acceptance...or rebellion...or FAITH began to rise up within me. I prayed..." know I don't really have the extra cash for a new phone right now. Please make my phone work!" It didn't.

I took it all apart and laid it in the sun for the next few hours while I finished my shift.

When I got back to the cottage, accompanied by my daughter Brianna, and friend Karen, & Rachelle, I put in my battery...and my phone started it was a dog shaking off the water after a bath. My hope was rising...but nothing else happened.

Karen and Rachelle lifted my spirits, "Your phone is FRIED, girlfriend! HISTORY!"

Not to be discouraged...I took out the blow dryer and dried it for about 5 minutes while my realist friends were on the phone with Verizon Wireless to find the nearest store, how much for a new phone, etc.

Again, I put in the battery. This time the "Verizon Wireless" words came on the screen. I was getting excited. However...nothing else happened. My "let my take care of you" friends proceeded to tell me about how their phones went in the water...just a quick dip and were dead forever after...and mine was SUBMERSED for 5 whole minutes...YOU NEED A NEW PHONE!

Well...not to be deterred...I blow dried my phone for a few more minutes....(by this time it had been about 5 hours since the "incident".) and once again, put in the battery and once again VERIZON WIRELESS lit the screen...that was it.

Karen reported to boost morale..."my daughter's phone did the same thing for FOUR days and nothing else....we HAD TO GET A NEW PHONE. JUST DEAL WITH IT SISTER!"

Well...with some desperation, some jest, and a hopeful faith, I opened my phone, laid my hand over it and prayed, "In Jesus name, Come to life!" and IMMEDIATELY my phone came on. The picture on my screen came up...all my contacts, pictures, text messages, EVERYTHING was in perfect order!

We laughed and laughed. Karen and Rachelle said, "That didn't happen to our phones!" I replied with some pomp..."you didn't have enough FAITH for your phones!"

We all rejoiced together like school girls. They were just as happy as I was that my phone was resurrected. The crazy thing was that it came to life as SOON as I finished praying those words.

My phone was the talk of the camp. The MIRACLE phone. I didn't meet anyone who had a fully functional phone after water submersion.

NOW...we could over spiritualize this and talk about faith strong enough to heal technology...we could downplay what happened and write it off as coincidence...but I choose to believe that GOD saw my need...saw the circumstances...and thought..."I am going to have fun with this one...and maybe I'll throw a little life lesson in it just because I am GOD!"

The morning Bible Teacher, Rob Burkhart, told the story of my phone the next day and reminded all of us that GOD cares about the little things in our lives. Things that may seem trivial to some, speak of God's provision, care, and love to others. The WORD says he knows when a sparrow falls to the many hairs are on our head...and when our Cell Phone needs new life! In the midst of a lot of things going on in my life at that time...that incident brought faith to me....brought the confidence that the LORD MY GOD is looking after me and taking care of my needs.

Thanks, Lord...for Julia, my phone rescuer....for Karen and Rachelle, my true friends, who were willing to drop everything, loan me cash, and take care of getting me a new phone...for Brianna who spend 30 minutes drying my phone with the blow dryer after it started working BEFORE we plugged it in to charge to make sure it was dry all the way through...for everyone at Family Camp who rejoiced with me at GOD'S faithfulness to SHOW ALL OF US that in the midst of all the things going on in the world...He SEES us...HE cares for us...HE will meet our needs...and sometimes with a little humor...teaches us to have faith for the little things.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Sorry I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks, but there is a VERY good reason! I have been busy LIFEGUARDING!

(my new word...thanks Leah!)

Our A/G church camp, Fa-Ho-Lo Camp & Conference Center was in DESPERATE need of lifeguards for the summer. My friend and camp director, Frances, called me to inform me of a 1 & 1/2 DAY certification training and if I knew of anyone who would be interested to PLEASE pass the word on. So before I KNEW WHAT was coming out of my mouth...I said "I'm a good swimmer. I'll help you out!"

Shocked but elated, she replied, "YOU WILL ?!?! That would be GREAT!"

Immediately, I thought to myself..."OH JESUS, what in the world did I just DO?!? I am 43 years old. I have NO BUSINESS training for this!"

One VERY GOOD Reason...I am extremely OUT OF SHAPE! Yes, I have lost 20 lbs on Weight Watchers and have started walking few times a week...but NOT in SHAPE by any means...unless you count 'round' as a shape...or 'pear' shaped!

So...on June 25th, I "took the plunge"...literally!

Mary Beth, along with 6 "young puppies"...four 18 year olds, one 17 year old, and one 22 years and another 40 something started lifeguard training.
'a few of my co-workers...the 18 year old on the far right is the HEAD lifeguard...MY BOSS!!!!

When I entered the room and saw all the babies...I inwardly cringed and thought..."I am an IDIOT! I feel HUMILIATION knocking at my door!

We started the morning 'in the classroom" with CPR and Defibrillation. The other 40 something, Jaime, and myself, finished the two tests rather quickly. We were proud of our accomplishments...especially because there is so much MEMORY involved! CPR has so many things to remember... how many breaths, how many compressions, hold the nose, tilt the head, check the pulse...

THEN came the REAL TESTS for our 43 & 46 year old seasoned bodies...the WATER TRAINING!

First of all, the water was at a HYPOTHERMIC temperature! After 5 minutes we had to get out and bring our body temp to the above freezing mark.

The first skill was to swim 20 laps...12 freestyle and 8 breaststroke. NO ONE wanted to get Jamie and I took the lead and got in and started about lap 13 I thought I was going to DIE and have to be rescued! My arms felt like 50 lb ice cubes as I tried to lift them out of the lap 19 I was sure I was about to throw up my morning oatmeal. When lap 20 was finished (the two old ladies finished first by the way...along with ANNA) I was sure I was going to pass out! My legs were head was spinning...stomach churning...but in the midst of my physical turmoil, pride began to well up with in me. Not a sinful pride, but a "WOW, I did it...pride" (the sinful pride came later)

Then came the rescue skills. AGAIN...the kids didn't want to dive in so the two MATURE ones of the bunch put on the game face and lead the way into the arctic waters.

We joined together...The Band of Aging Sisters...because we knew we needed to get it done. Because my partner in lifesaving had been certified before...she talked me through a lot of the skills as we practiced. Always listen to experience!

So as we did our skills for our the grace of GOD and the experience of Jamie...we passed on the first attempt almost every time.

Well, to make a LONNNGG story short ( yeah, right!)...WE finished FIRST...BEFORE the FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH...and had to wait almost 2 hours for some of them to finish! (NOW the sinful pride began to raise it's ugly head!)

This is Gavin...he didn't want his picture taken. I think it was because he was embarrassed that the old ladies schooled him! (however...he was the ONLY one to pass all the written tests with flying colors on the first try.)

A few of the teenagers said to us, "You are our inspiration! If you [old ladies] can do it, so can we!"

We had to confess that really, it is all in the mind. We realized...if we don't do this right the first time...our victim would be the dead man floating because we honestly did not have the endurance to dive down 9 feet 25 times to rescue our victim. So much of it is technique and holding your breath...we were panting as it was!
(BTW...thanks to ANDREW BYRUM for being our victim when we couldn't hold our breath any longer!!!!)

The next morning I repented of my sinful pride as I felt EVERY BIT of my 43 back hurt, my legs hurt, my backside hurt, my shoulders hurt, my arms hurt...(I think you get the picture)...and started THANKING THE LORD that I finished and didn't give up...even when I doubted I could complete the task.

I can honestly say it was one of the HARDEST things I have ever done in my life, but the LORD gave me the strength and endurance. I have thoroughly enjoyed these two weeks at my new 'job'. I enjoy chatting with the young pup lifeguards working with me. They have such a great future ahead of them...they are truly a joy to be around...and they are very gracious when hanging with the MOM lifeguard.

So...there it is. My new accomplishment in my 40's!

I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.