Have you ever shared a secret only to regret it later because of the ribbing you took after being transparent and vulnerable? 

This may be one of those moments, but here we go….

A handful of years ago, we took our three daughters to an overpriced waterpark in Myrtle Beach. The rest of the clan had vacated our home for college, so it was just the five of us.  

I’ve never been a particularly fun dad. I own it. I took my kids because it was always fun for them. However, to date, I have never been back to a water park.

A little background is essential. I am the youngest of three boys. Our neighbor had a pond. There was a raft. My brothers thought I should learn to swim one day. They tossed me off the makeshift pontoon. Lots of thrashing. Gasping. Sibling-induced trauma. Not a big water guy after that moment. 

Getting the picture here? 

Now, back to the scene of the unfortunate day at the waterpark.
The sun was shining. Beautiful day. Everything was going swimmingly-- until it wasn’t. 

“Hey, let’s go down the waterslide” was the chant of my two daughters. I love waterslides, so this will be fun. Twists, turns, then the big splash. I can handle that. So, without much fanfare, we ascend the plastic ladder into the enclosed tunnel. Girls and wife first, of course. Propelling themselves forward with their arms, they enter the passageway of death. I wait a few seconds for my wife to clear the exit in the splashdown zone, then I enter the chamber (as I have done many times over the years). 

I am navigating the twists and turns of this enclosed slide, noticing how hot and dark this particular slide was. Absolutely no light at all-- pitch black. No big deal—until I entered the splash zone myself.

I hit the water at the prescribed velocity of the waterslide engineer, but no one bothered telling me I was going into water that was eight feet deepI am thrashing around. Gasping. Flailing. PTSD-ing.

This is not good.

Flashbacks. Large gulps of water. Choking. This is going on way too long. I distinctly remember thinking, “Why isn’t my wife or daughters or the lifeguard coming to help me?” What’s wrong with these people? I’m drowning here, and no one is helping me!

And then, a skinny little 16-year-old lifeguard came to my rescue. I could feel his arms guiding me, and I could hear him say, “Stand up.” What are you talking about, dude? Stand up? I think to myself. “Stand up, sir,” the pubescent repeats to me. 

I was in 36 inches of water. 

Embarrassment engulfs me, and I look around to see who witnessed my hysterical flailing (no one--attendance was light that day, thankfully). Next, I carefully scan the horizon to locate my wife and daughters. They had moved on to the next pool—missing the show-- except for witnessing this skinny little guy cradling me. “What’s going on with Dad?” one of my little darlings asks her mom. 

I think the four of them are still laughing….and embellishing the story every time they gleefully share it. My wife still swears it was only 30 inches of water…

And, somewhere, some thirty-something ex-lifeguard loves telling the story about saving a middle-aged man in a kiddy pool when he served as Guardian of the Waterslide at Myrtle beach twenty years ago.

Folks, we are going to fail. Embarrass ourselves. Make poor choices. Misjudge others. Misjudge ourselves. Be misled. Be humiliated.

And, when you are humiliated, consider choosing humility. Own your stuff. Say you are sorry—and mean it. If necessary, make a 180. The Bible refers to this as “repentance.”

Humility. Try to cultivate it. Share your stuff with others. You will be healthier for it.

And yes, my family is quick to remind me, even today, of those dangerous kiddy pools you see on patios and beside driveways. “Be careful, dad; there is a kiddy pool. You don’t want to hurt yourself.” I guess they are looking out for my welfare….

For extra credit, check out Ephesians 4:2

And for the hyper-motivated, check out this article by CS Lewis linked here... Lewis states "the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison."

To respond to any iCare devotional, you can e-mail me directly at matt@forgottenchildren.org.
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