Into the deep end….
The image shifted from drowning to one of my clearest earliest memories of when I was six years old I would hold onto a big floaty ball and kick in the pool of my visiting grandparents condo on Galveston Island. I kept kicking my way and ending up in the deep end. My papa would sternly instruct me not to leave the shallow end because if I let go of the ball I could drown.
But again and again I was being very defiant that day and would return from the shallow end to the deep, so finally my papa reached down from the edge of the pool and snatched me up, took away the ball and threw me straight into the deep end of the pool. As I splashed for the surface in shock and surprise, sputtering and choking, I looked at him and saw anger, no…not anger precisely.
On his face and in his stance, standing at the edge of the pool, he looked ready to jump in should I not surface but as I looked up at him…my head just bobbing above surface, he looked down and firmly said “If you want to continue defying me you will learn the consequences of the deep end. So sink or swim! ” He said.
I swam that day.
Now…turning away from the blood stained sidewalk, those words resignated in me once again and the determination that I felt not to fail the test I’d felt at age six filled my body now as if a day hadn’t gone by. Not to sink but to defy him to take the chance that I might just drown to prove my own stance, yet not drown. His memory and his words came strong and I realized that, aside from the blood and the shooting…the accident…I didn’t know what else to call it even though I felt it was an accident, and it was, at the same time…I am at a loss of what I really feel about it.
I had made bad life choices that led me to this situation and past all the other previous ones that had at one point or another left me dumbfounded, and I was now paying those consequences of my actions and choices. And often of my own defiance I would drown. Now I was left to sink or swim after having put myself into the deep end.
Extra defiant because of my papa’s image standing beside the pool burned in me and I was determined not to let him save me. I would not sink. I had no choice but to swim.
With that image as I stood across from my building in California, not able to even step over the stain to pack a suitcase I felt my papa’s image calling to me, answering me a direction. Maybe it wasn’t God I’d been praying to after all, but my father.
Now, sloshed down two miles of road and through what felt like two hundred miles of rain, I stood staring at those white gate’s for God knows how long. I had come home. There was nowhere else my fathers image would send me…not since it was his image that drove me away sixteen years ago.