At the beach, warning flags are posted near lifeguard areas to give beach goers an indication of what to expect when going in the ocean. For example, green: low hazard, calm conditions; yellow: medium hazard, moderate surf and/or currents; red: high hazard, high surf and/or strong currents; red over red (two red flags): beach closed to public; purple: marine life present.
There are no color coded flags to indicate when your child needs help.
On my first trip to the beach the green flag was out, and my two girlfriends and I were all greased up and on our chairs having a good old time. It was early in the season, so the beach was not crowded.
Children built sand castles, teens ran races and young adults played beach games. Just down from us was a family enjoying the shade being provided by their canopy.
The fun sound from the ice cream truck drowned out our radio, but only for a moment. Yes, life is good at the beach.
Both of my friends were napping when I spotted an older boy about 100 yards down the beach struggling with a boogie board. He would stand up and get his footing just long enough for a wave to crash into him and knock him down. This happened again and again and it was only when I stood up that my girlfriends noticed the older boy.
I was frightened for this kid as I noticed he had a visible disability. As I started to head his way I saw a gentleman (apparently his father) go over to help him. It was obvious the boy did not want his father’s help. He was determined to ride that boogie board all on his own. But, time and time again the boy was unable to stay on the board. He finally gave up and let his dad help him. And, I was able to breathe easier.
Fast forward a month. I’m back at the beach. Yes, I am thankful and grateful the Lord has provided resources for a second trip to the beach during the same season. This time the young boy on the boogie board is my 13 year-old grandson. He is riding the waves with his younger brother and having the time of his life. Oh, did I say the purple flags are flying high.
I’m having flash backs from my last trip as I see his boogie board crashing on the beach and I see my daughter’s first born trying to run out of the water only to have wave after wave throw him down. When he finally makes it to shore, he is doing the unhappy dance and yelling like a banshee (look it up). It seems the purple flags were right—marine life.
Here’s when Google comes in handy when you have been stung by a jellyfish and you need a remedy, problem is they don’t sell white vinegar at the beach.
Mama bear to the rescue. Google says scrape the site, wash it with salt water if there is no vinegar and ice it to help the pain. Step two is aborted because said child (excuse me, young teen) is having no part in getting back in the ocean (hence salt water).
It’s funny now. And I have to laugh while I’m recalling the whole event. But, it was not funny to him when it happened. So now my chair under the umbrella is occupied by the teenager with the numb leg.
I can say now that this young man is beginning to show signs of maturity. With one hand on the ice bag and the other one rubbing his head he says, “Nanna Net, even though I’m being still and I’m not screaming anymore, I’m still in pain. It really hurts.”
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Just as the older boy’s father came to his rescue and helped him ride the waves. And just as mama bear took care of her son and helped him through the pain, I am reminded of our Heavenly Father and how He is there for us. When the waves of life come crashing down, when we are tired of trying to do it on our own, and when we are in tremendous pain, as children of God, we can be assured that He’ll rescue us.
We don’t need to scream like a banshee. He knows our pain.
Be still and know that He is God! Psalm 46:10
CHM Contributor Annette Burrell