Thursday, June 30, 2016

DROWNING IN BLACKPOOL

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As a child, I went with the family to Blackpool, (a seaside resort). I was 6 years old and boys being boys, I decided to go in the Ocean for a swim. Conveniently, I forgot that my idea of swimming was to flop my arms and kick one leg, the other keeping good contact with the bottom of the small swimming pool in Sowerby Bridge in Yorkshire. I was doing quite well until a large wave rolled clean over the top of me and then proceeded to drag me out about 20 feet or so. When I felt for the bottom it was gone! I immediately sunk down about 15 feet and there I found the bottom. Horrendous fear and panic arose as I had swallowed, what I perceived to be, half of the Atlantic Ocean. Somehow I struggled to the surface and before I could catch a breath another wave went over me.

There was a small boat about 10 feet away from me with 6 or 8 tourists, laughing and joking as they waited to go out for a trip. The fear, desperation and uncontrollable panic stopped me from crying out for help. I did my best but nothing came out, except seawater. Down I went for a second
time and hit the bottom again.

This time I met the God of Death. I don't need to tell what that was like. He said to me, "You're going to die today. I'll be waiting for you!" At that stage, I think I pissed myself. Somehow I got to the surface again. Once there I focused on a young man I could see in the boat. I had been taught to pray, so in a nano-second I prayed, pleaded and begged for my life to be saved. My prayer went so, " Please, please, please save me God! I will do anything you tell me to do for the rest of my life if You will please save me!! At that point I went down for the third time. The pain in my head and lungs was now at bursting point. As far as I was concerned my life was over before it had really begun and I knew He was at the bottom waiting for me. As that thought flashed through the mind, a hand grabbed my hair and yanked me to the surface. The next thing I remember was coughing up the Atlantic Ocean in the relative safety of the small boat.

The young man, who I had focused on, just before I went down again, had hauled me out. "Are you alright son?" he asked. "Are you OK?"
"I'm alright." I coughed and blurted out.
"Where's your mother? I'll take you back to her."
"No, please mister. Don't tell mi mum. She'll kill me. I'm not supposed to go in the water!"

Once he saw I was all right, he turned the boat around and put me on the beach. When I got back to where my mother was sitting, she said, "Where the bloody hell have you been, you little bleeder? Have you been in that bloody water when I told you not to?"
"No mum, only paddling."
"Stay here with me and don't go bloody wandering off on your own. And don't go in that bloody water again. People who can't swim have drowned in the water. I'm sure you don’t want to experience that do you?"
"No mum." I said.

From that day to this, I have lived on borrowed time. I have also kept the promise I made. There has been many times over the years that I questioned my plea for help. Regardless of that I am still here, following His orders. The first time I heard that voice again, (after Blackpool) it said to me, "Leave this place and go to Australia."

By the way, tattooing my head was not my bright idea. I'll give you one guess who thought that one up!