Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Fell!

Fourteen years. Fourteen long years of being my husband's first mate on fishing boats without a single slip or fall. Many times I should have succumb to gravity and slippery salt on a slick fiberglass hull. Often I could be found precariously perched over the sea preparing for docking while the chug chug chug of the motor drown out my existence - and nary a trace of me would be found if I fell overboard while underway in a salty sea 1/2 mile from land.

Last week I experienced a fall on the boat. Oddly, the boat was not moving or rocking or salty. It was calmly docked at a quiet Bahamanian port. I boarded the Lady Bridgewater without fanfare but ended up with a humble lesson which I will never forget.

For anyone who knows me well, you know I have a dislike (more like an anxiety) for driving. Yes, God has been working on me for years. I have finally accepted this thorn in my side of anxiety attacks which have led to all out fainting spells which began in childhood. I have been driving more and more and beginning to trust God will my driving or avoidance of driving. And so, when my wonderful husband Vinnie told me he had rented a golf cart for the whole day while we were in the Bahamas, I silently vowed I would drive the golf cart and get out of my comfort zone a bit (In the Bahamas you have to drive on the opposite side of the road - a challenge for those who enjoy driving but not for those who already abhor driving!).

As my husband scoured the beach, I volunteered to follow him along the sandy, deserted stretch of beach driving the golf cart. He walked for miles, and I moved the golf cart along at a snail's pace - but I was driving it and enjoying it! After awhile, he jumped into the golf cart and announced he would like me to drive into town and beyond. So off we went! I enjoyed driving through the secluded grasses which bordered the beautiful white sugar sand emerald blue bordered sea. The island people would wave at us as we passed. No doubt they heard us long before we saw them as the golf cart was often louder than any other object within miles.

I gained a considerable confidence in driving this golf cart on that sandy, quiet road. I have to admit, sometimes I would slow down as a rare car would appear in the distance and then would speed by on the "wrong" side. Overall, though I was feeling pretty good about my golf cart driving experience!

We parked the golf cart next to the boat and ascended the ramp to the boat. My husband boarded and went inside the boat. Looking back, he always waited for me to board but this time I was lollygagging with the shells and sea glass we found, fiddling with beach towels and suntan lotion. I boarded without him, ignoring the one rule I knew best. Always keep both hands free when boarding a boat of any size. I boarded with my camera in one hand. Bad decision.

I silently slipped, the gritty sand on my right foot made a skid mark on the landing as I desperately attempted to break my fall. The camera remained in my left hand as my right hand grasped for the leader wire that was overhead. Both feet went in mid air was somehow my entire body landed in the cockpit. Thud. My head hit the fiberglass freezer as my back slammed against the cockpit door. I took a quick breath and realized I am okay. Laughter ripped out of my soul and erupted from my mouth. As I laughed out loud I revelled in the fact that I had been spared. For if I had fallen and hit my head and had gone overboard, I would have been found in the marina no doubt with a very different ending.

Out came my husband who heard the thud from inside the boat. He was confused as to what exactly had happened. My relief did not make sense to him. I was okay! I was spared!

Falling. When one envisions this verb no doubt the subject of gravity comes into play. Today I fell. Not from Grace Praise God! But on my kiester.
I took off the flip flops. I waited for the boat to come closer to the dock. Always perfect timing comes into play as a foot is closer than two feet and inches matter when boarding a large boat!

I held onto my pricey camera (never board a boat without having both hands free) in my right hand and leaned into the boat and grabbed the rail with my left. Easy peasy no sweat. Or so I thought until I swung around and slipped right into the cockpit seat made of hard, slippery fiberglass.

Fourteen years of boating with my husband and I had not broken more than a fingernail or two. Today, thankfully I didn't break anything but suffered a bruised my knee and ego. See, I thought I didn't need any help. Didn't need to call me husband and hand him the camera. If I had done so, I would not have grabbed his out- rigger lines to break my fall and gotten a bruised knee, sore arm and neck.

My impatience got the best of me and I boarded without help. If I had fallen into the water and hit my head chances are no one would see me as the murky blue Bahamas water from the recently passing storm would have hidden my body from sight. The many docks and twists and turns of San Salvador Riding Rock Marina would have made it difficult to find me if I had fallen in and become unconscious.

What struck me the most about my fall was the fact that immediately after gravity dumped me onto the deck, I began laughing and did not stop! My husband heard me literally "hit" the deck and came running out. I was worried he would yell because I yanked off his beloved out-riggers. I could not stop laughing and he became irritated.

Laughter Evidence of Relief?
My mother shared not too long ago that when she was in nursing school one of her assignments was to roll a deceased patient off a bed into a sheet. I know, I know. You are wondering what death has to do with falling? Hang on. She shared with me that often both nurses attending the task would giggle. I am not sure why, but I do believe laughter in my case and my mother's case may be a form of relief and a way to cope with a serious situation. I covet responses or comments on this as I do not understand why I would laugh after almost breaking my neck!

My husband reattached the out-riggers, I iced my knee for an hour all the while I thanked God for sparing me a more serious spill. The camera was intact and all is well with the world. Gravity is no laughing matter....but then again my near miss with disaster sure does make me smile. What a relief.
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