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A Wave Of Forgiveness
The salty sea breeze pushed harder than usual as I struggle to hold down the red umbrella as it dance in the wind.I surrendered when it nearly sent me flying off the lifeguard stand.Closing it I looked around the beach as thick clouds rolled in smothering out the sunny day.People began to pack their things into beach bags and call out to their children.One little boy clutched his bucket and shovel to his chest shaking his head as he protested not to leave.His mother threatened to count to three.Just when she reached two he bolted to his feet.I smiled when he looked back at the ocean and slowed,reluctantly dragging his feet towards his mother.I didn't remember the forecast calling for a thunderstorm,but I was thankful for the coming rain.I'd been out here all day baking in the summer sun.Not that I didn't like my new job as a New Port Lifeguard,I was just eager to get home and curl up with a book I'd never thought I would have opened again in my life.I smiled as I remembered the look on my grandmothers face as she handed me the worn leather bible that had been passed down for generations.A couple of months ago,I would have sent it right to the trash,but the certain changes of events in my life kept me from doing that.Always in church as a little girl singing the old Sunday school song "Yes Jesus loves me" ,I hadn't really grasped the meaning of the words that flowed out of my lips.As the innocents of childhood faded into the struggles of my teen years sending me off to public school,it led me away from the Sunday services I used to love.And all that was taught to me as a kid.Struggling to be the best and trying to paint a picture of a girl I never was,took a toll on me.I would have given anything to have the most popular guy in school look my way.As elemeantary faded to high school I got my wish,but even having the most popular guy as my boyfriend still left me feeling empty inside.Like something was missing.But I pinned a smile on my face while keeping up the charade until I realized he wasn't at all what I dreamed him to be.Leaving me with a broken heart I tired so hard to get him back.And soon graduation came and went.After realizing I was throwing my life away when it had just began and crying over something that just wasn't meant to be.I dusted off my knees and surrendered back to my faith in God.I distanced myself from the crowd that had smothered out my years and begun to feel whole again,having a sense of purpose and feeling.Then I remember that song I sang as a girl.He who died,Heaven's gate to open wide;He will wash away my sin,Let His little child come in.Yes,Jesus loves me.I didn't have to pretend I was someone else, because I knew God shined on me and loved me for who I really was.A whistle rang to my left.Trevor motioned for the swimmers to get out of the water.He gave his whistle two short blows to get my attention.
"Kate!" He ran towards me, kicking up sand with his bare feet.
I wrapped my rescue tube around me and descended the ladder.Even though all us lifeguards were tanned from the sun it still left a blotch of red painted over Trevor's shoulders.
"Thunderstorms comin'.It's stirring up a rip current." He pointed to the water as the waves began to grow bigger swallowing up smaller ones.
I nodded knowing the drill.I went to the Life chair and raised the double red flag then made my way to the people out in the water.I lifted the whistle and let it sit between my teeth as I blew into it and signaled the remaining swimmers out of the water.I watched them one by one complain as they scattered on the beach grabbing their belongings.The clouds began to darken as thunder rumbled in the distance.
Someone touched my shoulder and my whistle slid out from my teeth as I gaped at the site of her.
"Tiffany?" I stared at her flushed face as she steadied her breathing.
"Kate! I didn't know you were a lifeguard!"
Of course you wouldn't know,you were to busy with your eyes on my boyfriend to notice what your best friend had accomplished.I wanted to tell her that but I held it in and chose a different reproach.
"Yeah,I wanted to help out.You know, make a difference." I scanned her face to see if the remark struck her, she was one who only thought about herself which only led to our failed friendship.
She seemed to ignore it, putting her hand to her chest as her eyes beamed with concern.
"Their calling everyone out of the water?"
"Jake's been out on his surf board for awhile.I never seen him come to shore." Tiffany bit her bottom lip as she stood on her tip-toes and scanned the water.
"Your still with Jake?" I asked.
The questions slipped out before I could stuff it back in.Tiffany slumped her shoulders.
"Do we have to go over this again, Kate? I thought you were over him." She turned and scanned the ocean again.
"I am.I just didn't think he would stick with someone that long."
Tiffany squinted her eyes at me as I remembered him going from girl to girl after he'd dumped me.I squared my shoulders.
"Congrats though, I'm sure you two make a great couple." I looked out at the waves so she wouldn't see the sting of disappointmeant in my eyes.
My body heated with the words, but I knew it was the right thing to say.This was just a test from God that I was bound to face one day.
"Kate!" I swung around to see Trevor again. A pang of guilt hit me square in the stomach catching me of guard when I'd realized how I'd been going on about Jake.Why was I feeling this way? Trevor was just my good friend.I met him during one the church's bible studies and we'd been going together ever since.But I did notice a change in him towards me from the last couple of weeks though.A change that forced me to hold back the grin that tried to split my face.
"There's been an accident down by the pier, I'm gonna go down there to see if they need any help.You stay here and make sure nobody gets in the water."
I gave a quick nod. He touched my arm and then ran off in the direction of the pier leaving a wave of emotions running through my body.
"Tiffany!" A blonde haired boy our age,I didn't recognize,came running to us.
His surfboard tucked under his arm.
"Eric! Where's Jake?" Tiffany asked.
His smile faded."I thought he was with you,I been looking all over for you guys."
I thought I would give Jake some time to show up but now the thunder was getting close,I knew I had to take action.I ran to the chair and climbed the ladder.Picking up my binoculars I scanned the water.Waves rose high then landed with loud crashes that echoed down the coastline.A wave about 20 yards to my left pushed something forward.I focused my binoculars.A head bobbed up as hands thrashed in the air but not before being engulfed by the water again.Jake.I thrust the whistle in my mouth and blew as hard as I could then climbed down the ladder and switched my rescue tube for the long rescue board.I ran towards the water and continued to blow my whistle hoping a fellow lifeguard would be here to back me up.Tiffany made it to the water before I could screaming Jake's name.
"Tiffany stop!" I screamed after her.
I knew I wouldn't get to her in time and she would be swallowed up in the waves.Eric dropped his board before I could make it to her and brought her back to shore.I slammed myself on the board and into a wave.Gasping when the mixture of the cool water slapped against my burnt skin.Waves pounded at me threatening to throw me off .I gripped the handles and lowered my head letting a wave slide over me.The rain that was built up in the dark clouds finally began to fall as Jake came into view.His hands still thrashing in the air in hopes to grab an imaginary object.
I could hear him coughing now as I struggled to reach him.Arms burning, I reached for his hand as it flew out of the water again.He jerked my arm sending a shocking pain through my body,I cried out but didn't dare let go.
The strong waves pushed us deeper out to sea as the shore line shrank in the distance.I wiped the salty water away from my eyes but it was no use,the rain just clouded them with more.I pulled Jake with all the strength that I had left halfway onto the board.He coughed and gasped for air as he struggled to lift his body to safety.We were far out enough not to feel the pounding of the waves anymore.Just the rain as it poured over our bodies making me shiver.Jake was laying on his back on the board.He lifted his head up and his eyes grew wide.I stared into them as the board gently rocked at the newborn waves that would soon grow as they made their way to the shore.
"Kate? How did you--?"
I pushed his shoulders back down.
"Shhh, just breathe."
He obeyed and I found myself breathing with him.The thunder crashed making the water vibrate.Pain throbbed in my arm.I rubbed it just as Jake sat up.
I didn't answer, only looked towards the shore for any sign of Trevor.
"Oh come on Kate.You still didn't get over that break up thing?"
I beamed my eyes into his.I wanted to push him back into the water,but then I remembered I wasn't the same girl I used to be.
"It wasn't just any break up thing!"
He shook his head in disbelief. "Kate that was--"
"I was pregnant!"
My words seemed to bounce off the water and slap him in the face.I clenched my jaw as the year old pain burned in my chest.I hadn't told anyone my secret ever before.I'd carried it so long it had burn inside me almost destroying me.Until God rescued me and gave me peace in his arms,something I had never got from Jake.
"The baby?" His gaze didn't waver and the tears began to pool in my eyes.
I shook my head."I lost it."
He reached out his arm to touch me,but I jerked away.
"Kate.I didn't know---"
"Of course you didn't.You were to busy flirting with the other girls to even bother."
His eyes shone with pity."Kate.I'm sorry."
Was that tears in his eyes? It was to late for tears anyway.The horrible pain that I tried so long to bury stood face to face with me now.Like the water that surrounded me a scripture poured in my mind.For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.I'd made horrible mistakes in my life.Who was I to say that my mistake was more worthy of God's forgiveness than his?
"It's alright Jake." His gaze shot up from the water."I forgive you."
I don't know where that came from.It seemed to pour straight out of heaven and the weight I once carried lifted off my shoulder.Making me be able to breath again.I let a relived smile corner my face.He gave me a thankful one in return.
"We should try to paddle back." Jake said.Nodding his head towards shore.
I shook my head in disagreemeant.
"Can't, my arms dislocated." I winced at the pain."Besides, we couldn't if we tried the current would just spit us back out here."
I waved my good arm out to sea. He nodded.It fell silent and all I could hear was the rain splashing on the surface of the water.
"I'm not that same wild high school boy that I used to be you know."
I brushed my wet hair away from my face.
"I see you changed to." He nodded towards the water."I thought you didn't like the deep? Your not scared?"
I smiled at the memory of when we were dating as he tried to drag me out into the deep for a swim.
"Not anymore.My lifeguard walks on water." I pointed to the sky with my good arm.
"Then I should be," He said."Cause mine sure don't."
We both laughed. A motor sounded in the distance grabbing our attention.I squinted my eyes and my stomach fluttered when I saw Trevor wave his hand from the rescue boat.Had I been so blinded by the pain of what Jake had done to me that I didn't realize what God was laying out right before my eyes? My heart swelled as my future cleared, no longer blurred by pain and anger. Jake looked back at me with a relieved smile.Like the ocean, a wave of forgiveness washed over me.