by Elisha Joyce
Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.
Today I got the strangest email through my business website. It began very generically and then broke into, “I would greatly appreciate a call from Elisha. I know her mother and father from Guam… both her mother and father know who I am. I know live in —- and work for the government. I am a a friend and not a salesman.”
Boy, I thought. These spammers have gotten good at merging personal information into their emails. But, I read on and the final sentence said, “Here is an old photo from my Guam days.”
Nothing loaded at first and then suddenly – the photo came through and I lost my breath: a face I hadn’t seen since the day my mom was almost taken from me.
The event flooded back to me like I was seven all over again. My dad running out into the shallow water to gather my mom’s lifeless body that had floated to the surface as the man who had held her swam in the opposite direction. I remember standing on the shore as my dad approached – my mom half naked and draped over one arm as he clumsily used the other arm and hand to lay her bikini top a way that would help make her limp body modest. I remember him depositing her on the beach, people everywhere crowding around – someone rushing in to give her CPR; the water and foam rushing out of her mouth and soaking into the white sand. I stood there whispering in my heart, get up! What are you doing? Don’t you know everyone is looking at you naked? My mom loved to be dramatic.
My dad had gone running off after dropping her – off in the direction of the man that had tried to drown her. Who knows how much time passed once he ran away – my mom coughed, the ambulance arrived, people started shuffling me around, at some point we gathered my 2 year old brother and our puppy. But suddenly the focus went from the naked, half dead lady on the sand to the men scuffling and bloodied coming back towards us. Him – the man whose face I was now staring at in the email photo – he was one of the men. He had stepped in as my dad was pursuing the evilness that tried to take my mom… and his face met with the rocks I’m sure those men meant for my mama. The man was gashed bad, as was my dad. But we were all in the ambulance, my mom now breathing on the bed in our midst, and the moments to the hospital were the last moments I remember with this man.
But now I was starting at him again – yet with a smile, and without the blood and wide eyes and voice that boomed. Crazy, isn’t it? That this strange man I never remember even saying two words to – that he floated in, then floated out of our lives – and managed to solidify himself as a monument in my family history. That face is burned on my brain… and now the incident I often forget is at the top of my mind and heavy on my heart.
Yes, my mom survived her attack. Turns out the man that had tried to drown her had actually raped and killed a woman the week before on the very same beach – and, thanks to the man in the photo and my dad, they caught him and his brother and the murder was solved. I don’t remember much else – except for the handfuls of hair my mom pulled out of her hairbrush every day for months, the scrapbook of news clippings about the murder trial, and how life just seemed to go on as normal.
Why do I share this? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because it’s the first thing I’ve wanted to write about in some time. I’ve been empty … been feeling like I’m in a fog, yet this flowed out of me clear as day. Maybe it’s because my mom being revived – being saved! – gives a perfect picture of my life. There was a time I was drowning, held down by the weight of sin and laid out naked and vulnerable and in desperate need of a Savior… and He came right to my side and brought me back to life. And now I am – here. Awake. Breathing. Alive! Still vulnerable, yet nothing but hopeful… and walking. Just walking. One step in front of the other seeking the face of my Savior.