Marry someone who will sacrifice their life for you, but don't give them a reason to make that sacrifice.
One year ago today I did something stupid. I mean really, really, ignorant. I did something that would have left my Mother broken-hearted, my Sister an only child and my Husband wifeless. I didn't see it coming, but I should have. I didn't think it was a big deal, but I should have. I didn't make the right decision, but I could have.
It was a beautiful day in Puerto Vallarta Mexico. The sand was warm between my toes and the sun was beating down on my carmel-y tanned skin. It was an extra special day because we had officially been married for 1 month and we were celebrating on our honeymoon. It had been a measly 30 days since my Husband pledged his loyalty to me, you know, the whole "I'll love you til death do us part..." But I feel like there should be a disclaimer in there. Like, I love you, but you can't put me in situations where I have to choose between you and me, life versus death, all because of your careless actions. But there I was, his wife of 30 days, making him choose. him, or me. Life or death.
Let me explain. The day prior, I had become a "pro" at boogie boarding. The day prior, I made better decisions. I had my 100 SPF sunscreen and a properly fitted life-vest on. It was my first time playing in an ocean that wasn't 50 degrees on a good day. I just couldn't get enough. I stayed in there for hours, splashing and wading in the water. I have been scared of water my whole life, for good reasons. I don't know how to swim. But just like that my "fears" had vanished.
Fast forward to day of, those fears were still "gone". I was ignorantly not afraid of the water, even though nothing had changed about the water, other than the temperature. The water was still powerful. I still couldn't float. I still couldn't swim. Remember when I said I did something really ignorant? Well I got into a mighty ocean; more than just my toes, without a life vest on and I did not know how to swim. I ran into the warm water, boogie board in hand, Ray-Bans on my head and a huge smile plastered across my face. I quickly learned that it was so much easier to use my boogie board sans a life-vest. I could easily maneuver the water and stay on the board. I was only 3 feet deep and having oh so much fun. Until the wave hit and knocked me off my board. I tried to reach for my board to use it as a floating device but before I could grab it, a wave hit again and sucked me deeper into it's grasp. And there it was. The moment in life where everything is going amazing, until it isn't. I went from standing in barely 3 feet of water to being 5'2" in water that was over my 6 Foot Husband's head.
My need to live immediately kicked in. I didn't know fight or flight was such a natural instinct until my only option was to fight. The strength of the waves were overpowering and demanding. I felt my Husband's strong hands latch on to my waist from behind me, next thing I knew I was being propelled up and through the water, breaking the surface for a mere few seconds, taking in as much air as I could before sinking back into the water. We struggled back and forth, and from what I can remember, he picked me up, throwing me towards my board 3 or 4 times, each time getting me a little closer to safety, and each time it slipping from my grasp as the board slipped through my fingers.
But the last effort my Husband put forth to save my life will forever be etched in my memory. I remember looking down at his face, eyes squinting from the sun glaring down on us, determination and pure fear in his eyes and desperation in his voice. At that very moment he was holding me above his shoulders and I was screaming at him to stop. Yeah, you read that right. The only thing that was killing me more than the water in my lungs, was the realization that I was taking him with me. I had given up. I knew that we both may not make it out. And I directed my anger towards my husband. Now I know that sounds crazy, actually pretty asinine. But it's true. I was so angry at him for allowing me to risk his life. I was angry at myself for risking his life. I was angry. Anger consumed me as I fought to release myself from his grasp. I was angry because I knew that he wasn't going to let me go. I knew that this fight was no longer about me living. I knew that if anyone was walking away from this situation, it was going to be me. Because my husband wouldn't have it any other way. I saw every bit of strength leave his body as he threw me once more towards my board. I reached out, this time catching the board but still plunging In to the water. Not knowing if my husband was coming back up for air. I held on for dear life. I came up, grasping my board as if it were my life line because it was. I was willing my husband to come back up. And he did. I saw his thick, head of hair emerge from the water, heaving for air and so angelic in my eyes. I began to bawl. Tears streaming from my already wet face, I cried tears of joy, tears of anger, tears from the adrenaline rushing through my now sore and weak body. I just cried. I realized that the happiest moment of my life was not when I said “I do”, a month prior. But it was in that exact moment when the Lord spared my husband’s life for me.
I could not be more grateful to have married a man who was willing to risk his life for me, when I risked both of our lives. Afterwards as I laid on the beach throwing up salt water he wasn’t angry with me. He wasn’t bitter, he didn’t tell me “I told you so” or scold me for how stupid I was. He gave me the hug that I thought I may never receive again. I cried off and on for hours after the incident. I lost my Ray-Bans to the great ocean, but I didn’t lose my husband, even when for a moment I had lost faith. Later that evening we went to a private and very romantic dinner on the beach, just us two. Where we were served fresh lobster, steak and 5 bottles of champagne (we only made it through 2 bottles). I had never been more grateful in my life, and not just for the opportunity to experience such a fancy dinner, on a wonderful honeymoon that our mom blessed us with, but to simply be alive.
To my dear, sweet, Husband who saved my life on that beautiful, day in Puerto Vallarta. Thank you. Thank you for your Christ-like love, and for not telling me “I told you so”, when you indeed told me so.
Disclaimer: I hope after reading this you see that the true moral of the story is to wear a life-vest and to never swim beyond your means. This all could have been avoided if I had of made one decision differently. Due to the amount of salt water that I ingested I was sick for a little over two weeks. Sometimes the decisions we make have life or death consequences. I am thankful that the Lord had mercy on me and that my biggest repercussion was my close relationship with the toilet for two solid weeks.