On Drowning, Breath, and Baptism

The summer I turned eight years old I spent a day at the beach. It was supposed to be fun—a family day with my sister, mom, dad, cousins, aunt, and uncle.

I want to say there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sand was clean and white, and it flicked up behind our heels as we ran. I wish I could tell you that grit stuck to our legs, and we had enough sand throughout our shoes and clothes to build our own beach when we got back home. But I don’t remember any of that.

Maybe I was sweating and sticky and eager to cool off in the water. Maybe I lingered on the beach like I usually do now—only dipping in when my body can’t take the heat, and only long enough to take the edge off before getting out and sitting on the sidelines again.

I don’t remember that, either.

I remember the moments immediately leading up to what happened.

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