| LifeTakes |

In the Deep  

      Now you were swimming and so was I; we could swim together

I saw you at the sea, my friend.

You didn’t see me. From a distance, hiding among the reeds, I watched you swimming among the others. I admired your speed and grace, hard-won from swimming against the currents, and the iridescence that burst into color when a shaft of sunlight illuminated the cool darkness of the waters.

You didn’t see me there among the reeds, so near, still alone. I, too, was learning to blow bubbles, and I thought I might ask you to show me how to find my way on the seabed. You’d teach me to find nourishment at sea, and to avoid the dangers lurking in the coves. We’d wait to see the shifting light of another sunray, and whisper in awe about the sun’s light reaching even undersea. But I didn’t ask, not yet.

Sometimes we would meet on dry land. “How are you?” we’d ask, and “Nice to see you,” we’d say, and “Let’s get together sometime,” we’d offer, but you’d know that you would soon be returning to the sea. I knew that I would be, too, but I didn’t say anything, although I’d have liked your company along the way. We might have visited the corals, exclaiming at the beauty in a place that once had seemed so forsaken. We might have listened to a seashell, hearing in the roar of the waves some words of hope or guidance. We might just have floated quietly together, finding comfort in each other’s company and in the presence of the other sea creatures.

But we didn’t, not yet. I didn’t have the courage to ask, to say, to go. Maybe that was because I still hoped to return to dry land one day. After living undersea, would I again live on solid dry ground, breathing in the air and the sun? Could I? And did I want to, that was the question.

Maybe I kept quiet for your sake, you who had always cared and wanted only happiness for me, so that you wouldn’t know that I had, after all, come to join you undersea.

And you? You didn’t know to ask, to say, to invite, because you’d last seen me there among the trees and the flowers, in the wind or the rain or even the snow, but certainly not underwater. We’d never spoken the language of the sea. The backdrop of our friendship wasn’t the picture of waving reeds and shifting sunlight, and while we had always walked together, we’d never swum.

Now you were swimming and so was I; we could swim together. So when I returned to the sea, I didn’t hide among the reeds. I didn’t watch, and I didn’t admire. I darted out from the secure privacy of the shadows, leaving the darkness behind. “Let’s go see the corals,” I said.

We both knew the way. And when we stopped to listen to a seashell, I heard the echo of His guarantee: that although a fish can’t breathe on dry land, He won’t let it drown in the sea.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 837)

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