I was drowning.
Seven years old, at the Warren Dunes, in the magnificent waters of Lake Michigan, I was quickly exhausting my dog-paddling attempts to stay conscious.
Dad had carried me on his shoulders to deeper water. We had done this before. It was fun.
But this time was different. Dad got into trouble, and I had to get off his shoulders so he could recover. My plan was to make for the nearest buoy–but I really couldn’t swim very well.
It was one of the strangest experiences of my life. I remember things getting dark. I remember a feeling of peace sweep over me. I remember thinking, “It’s not so bad, I’m so tired. I think I’ll just give up.”
Two things saved me.
First, cursive. You read that right. It was the summer between first grade and second grade. And as every first grader knew, the most exciting thing about becoming a second grader was that you would get to learn how to write in cursive.
I thought to myself, “If I die today, I’ll never learn to write in cursive.”
Another herculean push: “Maybe I can make it to that buoy….”
Second, obeying my Father’s voice. He called to me, “Danny, come back to me!”
Without hesitating, I did an about face. He saved my life.
If you feel like you’re drowning, and your relationship with God is “it’s complicated.” I’d love to encourage you to swim toward His call.
How? First, talk to Him. It doesn’t have to be out loud–but should definitely be communicative. Tell Him exactly how you feel about your relationship. Second, try to connect to Jesus through the Bible (start in Mark or Luke–this is available for free online). Third, if you find the Bible too hard, this might sound crazy, but try these “children’s books,” The Chronicles of Narnia. They are about Christianity. Spoiler: The Lion (Aslan) is Jesus; The Witch is the devil. Countless faithful have found their way back to Jesus by reading these books. Fourth, tell someone. We’re not meant to go it alone. We journey together.