28 May Rip Tides | May 2019 Newsletter
Thirty-six years ago, my dad, Pike, went on a mission trip to Puerto Rico. He shared a room with an 18-year-old young man named Charlie. One morning after a storm the group went to the ocean. Charlie quickly jumped in with youthful playfulness. Within 5 yards the beach disappeared, and Charlie found himself in a violent rip tide. He panicked as he realized he was in trouble.
My dad, a former high school lifeguard, started removing his shoes and outer clothes to jump in after Charlie. Before he could get to the water a local grabbed my dad and said “no, no senor Pike.” He refused to let my dad jump in and pointed to the sign that had fallen over due to the storm – Dangerous Rip Tides, Do Not Enter!
My dad had to stand on the shore and watch/listen as Charlie drowned in a few short minutes. I think what compounded his terror was that when he looked at Charlie he saw me, his oldest 17-year-old son, out there in front of him and he couldn’t help. Dad grieved then. He still will not go into the ocean himself today. Life impacting.
I wish I could meet the man who stopped my dad from jumping in. Things could have been very different for our family too. I am so grateful for his tug on Dad’s arm, otherwise I would not have a dad today!
Many of us help those affected by cancer as our vocations – directly or indirectly. It is extremely difficult when we are not able to help someone, and we must watch as the rip tide pulls them out. Sometimes we experience unbearable things. Yet, through life’s tides we may need to grab the person on the shore next to us. Encourage each other to help those whom we can.
Today, hug the therapist, physicists, billing person, or doctor whom you work with and let them know you appreciate them. Your encouragement may be the very thing that prevents them from jumping into an unknown rip tide.