Difficult Conversations – “Thank You” by Grenville Phillips II
Last Sunday, I decided to get a sea-bath before the lockdown. It was the first time I entered the sea in years. When I got to Accra beach, I noticed the yellow flags.
There was no lifeguard on duty, so I asked the security guard to keep an eye on me. She said that she was not the lifeguard. I told her that I understood that, but she could still call for help. She laughed.
There were 4 persons already in the water. I assumed that they were tourists. Entering the water with the waves breaking was a challenge, but beyond that, the sea was less violent. All five of us stayed in a line, where the water was around our waist level. I enjoyed the experience.
I noticed the red flags to my west, and was careful not to get pulled in that direction by the currents. After some time, I noticed what I assumed to be a boy of 8 with his father – tourists. They entered the sea in the area with the red flags.
Since the other sea-bathers seemed to ignore them, I decided to go and warn them. So I entered the red zone. When I was about 3 m (10 ft) away, but between them and the beach, I explained the danger of being in the red zone, and advised them to go to the safer yellow zone. He politely thanked me for my advice.
I could feel the abrasive sand ripping skin off my forearm as I was being dragged out to sea. The next thing I knew is that there was a moment of calm and I was stumbling to my feet – a little disoriented and embarrassed.
I decided, inexplicably, that I was not yet finished bathing. So I made it to the safer yellow zone, and tried to understand what just happened. My hip was hurting, and my forearm was bruised, with a little skin missing. But other than that, I was ok.
I observed the man and the lad hurrying to reach the yellow zone – which they did. Perhaps they reckoned that if one wave could take out a giant of a man like me, what hope could such as they have.
When I later learned that two people were missing that same day, after being struck by waves, I frantically hoped it was not them. I ashamedly admit to being relieved to hear that it was not. I also understood how close I actually came to joining the two who have ended their course.
What stopped the normal process of events, to give me enough time to stand in the mist of the riptide? I do not know. Perhaps there is still work for me to finish.
Why did I not avoid the danger by simply ignoring the man and the lad? Because that is not who we are. Barbadians tend to give their unsolicited advice – even if it is not taken. I understand that the UK visitor was similarly warned.
It is my personal belief that the lad has some important work to so. I was at the right place at the right time to warn them. To ensure that they took the warning seriously, I was sacrificed to the waves.
I believe that someone was moved to pray for me at that time, and an Angel was dispatched to give me a brief moment to get up – and I took it. To the one who prayed, thank you for your obedience.