Have you ever held your breath too long it made you dizzy or feel faint? In July, of 2016 I was surfing in San Diego, California and found myself in a very dangerous situation…
On this particular day, the waves were very powerful and the current was moving so fast that you had to paddle the entire time just to keep from being sucked out to sea. It was exhausting, much like an ocean treadmill that took all my strength and drained my muscles completely.
After I was too tired and ready to head in towards the beach, a rogue wave caught me by surprise and the wave crashed right on top of me.
Immediately I was taken to the bottom of the ocean and was pinned to the sandy floor. My board was trapped on the sea floor with me as it was being held down by the weight and sheer power of the ocean. My legs became tangled in the leash attached to my surfboard and I realized I was in a fight for my life.
After unwrapping my legs and getting free I pushed to the surface and took a deep breath and prepared for the next wave to crash over me. This process of being taken to the bottom of the ocean happened back to back to back. It felt as if I was a dirty sock in the pacific oceans rendition of a washing machine. To say the least, I was desperately in need of oxygen. It got so bad that I remember everything going dark under the water and beginning to question if I was dreaming!
I remember thinking, “Oh wait…this is real…I need some help to breathe!”
Just then I pushed off the ocean floor and broke through the surface of the water and noticed my surfboard was floating on the surface right next to me. I climbed on top of the board and tried to catch my breath before it was too late. Once on top, I bear hugged that surfboard as if my life depended on it (mostly because my life literally depended on it) and I held on as the next set of waves rolled my way. However, to my surprise, this next wave didn’t take me under but rather pushed me into the beach. I was okay, and I owed it all to my surfboard and a small voice in my head that encouraged me to push off the ocean floor and experience a deep breath.
Have you ever held your breath too long it made you dizzy or feel faint?
At Family Promise, we are privileged to come along side families that know all too well the feeling of holding their breath. Many of our families have been through an unexpected life circumstance that was beyond their control. Much like a rogue wave of life, their circumstances have left them needing someone to comfort and stand with them as they get back on their feet once again.
This is their “Fighting for their life moment.”
As an organization focused on ending homelessness, this opportunity to provide support when needed is our greatest honor. Like my surfboard, we want to be someone they can depend on to get them above life’s rolling and often unpredictable waves. Our mission is to give families the space to dream again. However, when you are in the midst of fighting for your life it is impossible to focus on planning a better future. We exist to give families the space to pause, catch their breath, and through personalized case management be able to dream again about what they want their future to look like.
Our mission is to give families the space to dream again. However, when you are in the midst of fighting for your life it is almost impossible to focus on planning a better future. We exist to give families the space to pause, catch their breath, and through personalized case management be able to dream again about what they want their future to look like.
Thinking about that day at the beach, I remember both the desperation and joy that I felt as I noticed how my surfboard was still there with me.
Our hope at Family Promise is that families experience the same joy when they look up and see our community is here for them!