For me, Autumn is happiness.
taking a stroll in the neighborhood- my backdrop being the trees and grass covered with fall leaves.
indulging in warm pies: cherry, pumpkin, and apple. Listening to worship music. Spilling out my heart as I write about my life with no limits.
sitting in my comfy chair. Wearing a warm, fluffy sweater while drinking cinnamon apple tea and reading a good book that feeds my soul.
These simple moments slow me down, and bring me to a place of sweet contentment.
But ironically, Autumn is a season of things dying: grass, leaves, plants, insects.
Before we know it, the brisk Chicago Winter will envelop us, and a life of hibernation awaits us. Some of us will experience cabin fever, and once that first warm day in Spring embraces us with its presence, the world will seem a little smaller because everyone will be out and about.
There is no doubt that seasons come and go.
And, so does happiness.
It is inevitable that we will have days that bring about stress, anger, sadness, and even deep despair.
The unavoidable obligations, the untimely circumstances, and even the day to day responsibilities can bring about that drowning feeling.
Have you ever witnessed someone drowning?
Someone frantically waving their arms in the water and screaming for help is how the movies’ depict a person drowning.
As we all know, Hollywood is notorious for its inaccurate portrayals. Religions, illnesses, childbirth, love making: to name a few.
And now, you can add drowning to the list.
The most common indication that a person is drowning is that they don’t appear to be drowning. Silently the person can and will drown, if someone doesn’t notice and take action.
Some of you may be wondering… “How can someone drown silently?”
For starters, a drowning person can’t call for help.
To speak, one must breathe – exhaling and inhaling the air around them. The mouth of the drowning person is not above the water long enough to do so.
They cant wave for help either.
The drowning person is fighting under the water in order to stay above the water. Their arms are at the sides of the body pressing downwards in order to elevate themselves out of the water.
If a person is waving and screaming for help they are in aquatic distress. They are still able to assist in their own rescue.
When I was five years old, I experienced aquatic distress at a church outing.
Back then, my family and I attended the Spanish service at Visitation Church. We were, what I like call, Chreasters – folks that attend church twice a year, Christmas and Easter.
There were times when we would get in a rhythm and attend a couple of months without missing, and for reasons unbeknownst to me, we would stay away until the next big holiday.
Occasionally, the Spanish congregation would provide family field trips. Since my grandma, Francesca, was a dedicated member of the church, and my two Tias (aunts) sang for the church choir, we were able to take advantage of these events.
The year was 1980. It was an excruciatingly hot summer day in Chicago. The field trip that fateful day was to a park district pool in a nearby (better- off) neighborhood.
The church provided two guaguas (buses).
Because, I am my father’s daughter. A Jibara to the core. I prefer guaguas a Spanish slang word used by Puerto Ricans, than autobus, the proper Spanish word.
Guaguas is also fitting for this particular story, because a majority of the riders were Puerto Ricans.
Two words can nicely describe that bus ride- LOUD and HOT.
I love my gente (people), but I am the first to admit, we can be loud, rambunctious, and at times unashamedly obnoxious.
The hot buses were jammed packed with with families- there were a few fathers, but mostly, there were grandmothers with their grandchildren, and mothers with their children.
One of those mothers was my mother. My father had to work that day.
With grandmothers and mothers flying solo with a lot of kids, one can safely assume that a few kids got the chancla (hit over the head with a flip flop).
When we finally arrived at the park district, everyone was dripping with sweat and they couldn’t wait to jump into the pool.
Undoubtedly, there were plenty of disappointed faces as we approached the pool that was already packed with people.
My sister and I didn’t know how to swim. If I recall correctly, I believe it was our first time at a pool.
My mom held me in the water while my little sister slept in the stroller.
When my mother needed to tend to my sister, I could only sit at the edge of the pool waving my feet back and forth in the water.
I remember leaning over to look at my feet in the water, and before I knew it, I fell into the water. I quickly went down to the bottom of the pool.
A man grabbed a hold of my arm, and pulled me out of the water and sat me back down at the edge of the pool.
My mom ran over with a panicked look on her face, asking the man what happened.
I remember gasping for air, squeezing my burning nose, and crying hysterically.
Thankfully, someone was there to rescue me. I know now that my God used that man to pull me out of the water.
Writing this blog, taught me about silently drowning.
One way to make sure that a person isn’t silently drowning in the water is to ask them, “Are you alright?” If they don’t respond, then most likely, they aren’t okay.
I would go as far to say that a person drowning in life can do so silently. It doesn’t have to be a loud cry for help. A person can appear to be okay, but in reality they are way over their head.
I think asking them if they are okay is a simple, yet an imperative question.
I have been pulled out of the drowning pool of life, because God has faithfully placed people around me to be His arms.
Hope 2 Overcome can be as simple as us pausing to inquire if someone is okay!