Monday, July 14, 2014

The day I learned that I am a fighter...

The past couple of weeks, Andrew and I have been taking Ruger out for a swim almost daily. It's been so nice, especially considering that last year, it was September by the time we actually even got out on the lake! I felt that we had jipped ourselves and promised that we would definitely be taking advantage of the water this year! So far, we've lived up to that promise!

I noticed at the beginning of the season that Ruger was a little unsure of himself in the water, but I thought he would eventually grow into it, so I wasn't worried. Last week, though, Andrew and I started taking him out into deeper waters, and as I watched him struggle, I began to think it wouldn't be a bad idea to go into town to get him a life jacket, just so he would have a bit more confidence in the water.

We ran into town the night I had that thought to grab a jacket from Cabela's, but when we showed up, they didn't have the right size, and we were late enough that PetCo was closed. We just figured we'd be back into town over the weekend and grab one then... That was Thursday night.

The next day, Friday, Andrew didn't have too much work to do, so we decided to go to the lake early and buzz around on the Sea Doo for a while. We left Ruger in the bed of the pickup while we zipped around the lake, then I talked Andrew into taking me back to shore so I could swim and play with Ruger while he could have some 'manly' fun out on the jet ski. That was mistake number one... thinking that it would be OK for me to be swimming with no one else around.

When I got back, I meant to take my wedding ring off, but got distracted, and just headed down to our swim cove with the ring on my finger. By the time I got Ruger down there with our towels and things, I didn't want to walk all the way back to the pickup to take off my ring... It's too big, though and falls off when I am in the water. This was mistake number two. I took the ring off and stuck it in a little pocket on my own life jacket. I didn't want it to fall out in the water, so I took the life jacket off, and left it hanging on a branch with our towels.

I played close to shore with Ruger for a few minutes, then proceeded to get ready to swim to this little island like I had done everyday for the past week. It's about 75 yards, but the water is extremely deep. Ruger usually will swim about 20-25 yards out, get scared and go back... but USUALLY Andrew is there with us... 

I began swimming out and when I got about halfway, I noticed that Ruger was getting REALLY close to me. I could see in his face that he was panicking, and I braced myself for what was coming next.

It's interesting, when you have times in your life where you aren't sure your are going to make it... it seems that time slows down and you become very aware of everything that is taking place around you. At the same time, though, it seems that you are dazed and confused, and not sure what to do until the fight or flight instinct kicks in. This was one of those moments!

Ruger lunged forward and pushed me down under the water. I fought to get my head back up where I could see and breathe, and shoved him away from me, but he was moving faster than I could. Before I could think about what to do next, he was right next to me trying to climb back up on me again. I was under water a second time.

I remember thinking "You have to make a decision; either you both go down, or you save yourself and try to get him taken care of later." It was heartbreaking, though to think of what the outcome of this situation might be, but I didn't have time to think of that. The only thing that I could do was kick, and fight, and PRAY. I began to pray hard! I prayed that God would help me stay calm and know what to do. I prayed that Andrew would come back on the jet ski, to pull Ruger from the water. I prayed that Ruger would see how close we were to the shore, instead of only seeing me as his way out of the water. None of my prayers were being answered, and I knew that if I kept being pushed down like I was, it wouldn't be long until I wouldn't be able to fight anymore. I could feel my body cramping, and begging for air. I knew that it was starting to give up. This is when I PRAYED to know how I could save my life. What could I possibly DO to get out of this terrible situation I had gotten myself into?

Suddenly, I grabbed Rugers jaw to push him away from me yet again, and realized that I could hold him out away from me and POINT his face toward the island! He was still looking at me, but I was able to keep him off of me, and move forward with my other arm and kicking my legs harder than I thought I could... and FINALLY Ruger looked forward, and saw the edge of the water. He took off and I was able to slow down a little and try to catch my breath. I knew it wasn't over yet, but I felt like my saving grace had come... I paddled my way to the shore, and just as I reached it, I looked up and saw Andrew driving toward me. 
I got to a point where I could reach and just sat down. By this time, I was hyperventilating and a little in shock over what just happened. I nearly passed out into the water, but Andrew was there, and I was safe. All I could do was cry tears of gratitude.

I had made it through one of the scariest experiences of my life. 

As I drove home, I thought about life over the last 10 or so years. Through my teenage years, I would often wish that I would get into some freak-accident. I was so depressed, but I knew that suicide was not the answer. I just wanted some way to end the pain. I often thought about how I would react if I got into a life-or-death situation. I never thought that I would fight for my life!

I know that over the past few years, I have grown so much. Especially over the past year. My life has changed LEAPS AND BOUNDS!!! I now value my life and my time! I am SO GRATEFUL for the time I have been given and I have realized something; God is aware of you. He loves you and wants you to succeed. I have learned however, that He won't do everything for you. This life is about gaining experience, and learning and growing. I prayed from Him to save me, but it wasn't until I thought of what I could do to help myself through my situation that I received inspiration that lead me out of my predicament. 

It's like a parent teaching a child to ride a bicycle. You can't do it for them. They'll never learn that way. Instead, you push them into the direction you need them to go, then you hope that they will keep their end of the deal and pedal to stay on the path that you have put them on. 

I am so grateful that I have kept my ears opened to the direction from my Heavenly Father, and that I have chosen to keep peddling to stay on the path that He has placed me on.Because of my choices, there have been times when I have strayed, but always, I am lead back to where I need to be. 

I am so grateful that I made it through this experience, and that it didn't turn out differently than it did. 

*Disclaimer, we got Ruger a life jacket the next day. He is a much better swimmer now.