When We Don't Listen...

I learned a valuable lesson this weekend...

My brother and his wife flew in for a visit so we packed up the car and headed for the coast. We love the beach! We love to jump in the waves, dig in the sand and soak up some sun. We rented this cute little farm house with goats and llamas and fields and dropped our stuff off at our oasis getaway before heading to the ocean.

It was a beautiful 1/2 mile hike through the forest down to the beach and we marvelled at the trees and giant slugs along the way. The tide was beginning to come in, but we still had a good 25 feet or so of sandy beach before it ended at the edge of the cliff wall. There were great, large logs that had been washed up against the cliff wall where we could set up a safe, home base and have plenty of sand behind us for the kids to dig in. The waves were in true form. The were large and awe-inspiring and provided plenty of fun to run and jump in. We played for about an hour and had a great time.

But, from the moment we stepped off the trail, Buster, who's 9, was not impressed. He LOVES the beach, but he refused to get near the water. The only explanation that he could provide us was, "I don't feel right about this, those waves aren't safe." No amount of consoling or coercing could get him near that water, so we finally told him that if he didn't feel comfortable to stay back and play in the sand. But, for the entire hour, he never fully relaxed; he remained fixated on watching the waves.

After an hour or so, my Sidekick and I began to gather the children and to discuss our hike home: who was wet, where the shoes were, what we needed to do before dinner. As we were discussing the plan, out of no where came this huge, rogue wave. Our "safe" log which had previously allowed the largest of waves to only wet our toes, was no match for this wave. In a stunning second, we were all immersed up to our waists. Our bags and shoes were thrown behind us from our "safe" log and left in slow draining pool behind it. They would have washed out to sea if the log hadn't stopped them. By the grace of God, my Sister-in-Law saw the wave as it approached and had the foresight to grab Rascal, who was sitting next to her on our "safe" log, by the shoulders and hold on to him as the wave enveloped him. Luckily, Dodger had come in the dry off and stood behind us beside Buster, who stared, wide eyed in fear, as the wave hit.

After the initial shock wore off, we looked around to survey our damage. We were all drenched, our shoes and towels were drenched, but still there, and miraculously none of the children had been dragged out to sea. It was then that we realized that my brother, who had been standing 10 feet in front of us, where Dodger had been seconds before the wave hit, had been knocked down by the wave and was pinned under a massive log. The log, that moments before had been buoyant and weightless in the water, now trapped him against the sand. A moment of panic, screams for help and many good Samaritans later, he was freed. It took 9 people to lift the log off his leg. He had some scrapes and major bruises, but walked away.

The ocean, that had been our playground, had turned dangerous and deadly in an instance. Buster had been right. Buster had listened. In those few intense minutes, I learned that sometimes, our children listen better than we do. Next time one of my children says, "I don't feel good about this, it doesn't feel right", I will listen. And I pray that the day that I say to them, "I don't feel good about you going tonight, but I don't know why", that they will listen to me because I had trusted them. Because, sometimes, those feelings, save lives.

Whaddya think?

Dodger sitting on the log that pinned my brother