For When We Are Called Into Deep Waters
The first time I was called into deep waters was via text message. It was about 7:00 AM, just before her class fills her room and I hop in the shower. I remember standing in our closet slack-jawed and terrified as I reread the words that filled a grey bubble on my screen.
“Please pray for baby. They’re concerned because I’m bleeding and have a sudden lack of pregnancy symptoms.”
They’d tried for nearly a decade. They’d placed hope in His plan for their family, sure He’d knit them together. And the trying grew tired. They didn’t have answers and so, they leaned into His plan to grow their family through adoption. They were joyful through the process, never wavering in their sureness that He’d deliver. And He did.
A positive pregnancy test surprised them on Easter morning. She said she’d sobbed over the divine timing. She was thrilled and I found myself over the moon for her. What wasn’t possible now was and their joy multiplied with each passing day. I prayed thanks every single day. Thank you for that sweet babe, thank you for my friend’s joy, thank you for allowing me into this part of their life.
But then the text came on that early summer morning.
I wrote back some encouraging verse with a promise to pray and I did pray. But I was haunted all day because I didn’t know how I’d be there with her, be community to them, extend His love if the baby wasn’t going to be okay. Somberly, I showered and readied and worked through the day. I watched the clock nervously awaiting their appointment time. I knew this was a defining moment bearing huge news for their family. I wondered over and over if I could be a friend through this.
Because, honestly, it’s easier to run away. I know because I have, I know because I’ve been left behind in the wake of great loss, I know because I’m human. It’s easier to turn and to make an excuse about baggage or helplessness or being sick, but really, we’re terrified of the deep waters of relationship.
Out in the depths, tides are wild and unpredictable, always rushing in and over your head. Out in the deep waters your feet don’t touch and the life guard is off-duty. Deep waters are dark, murky, and mysterious, thus it’s simpler to stay comfortable in the shallows on the shore. However, it’s to the deep waters we have been called.
We can ignore the call -as I did for years-, but it’s only a matter of time before we end up there -in the depths. He will drag us kicking and screaming into relationship that’s over our heads and extending our hearts. He will bring us to sandy edges of life’s water and plead with us to trust Him while we walk over the ripples. And we will go, maybe with reluctance, but we will go.
In recent years I’ve been thrust into the role of a deep-water friend. It’s by accident -or divine intervention depending on the day you ask me- because shallow shores now terrify me. The edges of introductions that are ruffled with small talk make me itch like the lacy sleeves of my least favorite sweater. The job and weather and brand name talk make me ache inside because I’ve got big heaping servings of life I want to share.
I’m the friend who begs you into deep water with the loss of my father. I am honest and truthful, though honestly afraid. I tell of his disease and his riddled mind because shallows are no longer my safe, resting place. I want to vomit all over that losing him breaks my heart daily but my God is a healer, so I can still live. I want to confess about the way it hurts so hard, but he’s going to Heaven and that’s a promise that he’ll be more than just alright.
And you’d look around the crowded room attempting to locate a life vest because you don’t care to swim. But we’re here -like Jack and Rose- clinging to a drifting slat of wood and I beg you to stay with me. I beg you as I remind you: we were made for the deep.