Hope in Paradise

Diamond head looked down upon this 12-year-old swimmer.

Not Waikiki. Best Hawaii beach photo I had was from Velzyland Beach on the North Shore of Oahu

Okay, to call me a swimmer is pushing it. I could swim but I was not match for the waves. Still, I was enjoying the clear water and warm breezes of Waikiki as I bobbed in the waves.

There were many people in the water, but I was off by myself. The other kids on our trip were more hyper than I. I was enjoying a calm moment by myself.


The calm was shattered by an elderly man and his young granddaughter.

He was fighting to keep them afloat in the riptide.

I moved toward them but quickly found myself at the edge of a trench dug by that same riptide that threatened them.

I knew my limits.

If I took one more step, there would be three needing rescue.

I reached toward the man. He reached toward me. We came within a foot of touching.

I stretched on my tiptoes and closed the gap to inches. But there was still a gap.

It was heart wrenching to see them struggle.

I didn’t have to watch for long.

The lifeguard swam past me as easily as walking. He had the pair to shore in no time.

I bobbed there feeling useless.

It occurs to me now, 47 years later, that I wasn’t completely useless.

I provided hope.

The man had someone to reach for, even if that someone fell short of being able to complete a rescue.

How often do you feel inadequate to help someone in their time of need?

You know your limitations and you know that they need more than you can provide.

They may need more that you can offer but that doesn’t mean that you can’t help. You can provide hope and direction to lead someone in need to someone who can meet their need.

If you see a need that you can provide, step up and provide it.

I you see a need that you cannot provide, step up and do what you can to get that person the help they need!

It’s good to know your limitations.

It’s better to do what you can right up to the edge of those limits.

Just don’t step into the rip tide when you can’t swim well.

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