Ann Farabee: The life guard

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 27, 2019


While perched comfortably in my beach chair, surrounded by all the stuff you carry to the beach with you, I was watching my two children play in the waves. Although still young, they were old enough to give me the freedom of watching their every move like a hawk from my chair, instead of being in the water with them.


Watching intently and staying focused on them only, I realized they were now oblivious to me, as they waited on the next wave to break.


Ride a wave. Go back out. Ride a wave. Go back out. They were quite entertained, and unaware that they were continually drifting further and further down the shore. But I knew.


Each time they ran up on the sandy beach, I waved my arms to let them know I was still there, but they never looked my direction.


Even though I did not have their attention, they sure had mine. I kept my eyes totally on them – because I knew there were things they needed to watch out for:


*The undercurrent – An undercurrent is water that is below the surface that moves in a different direction from the current. The powerful channels of water can pull swimmers out, knock them down, or push them to a place they never intended to be.


*The underwater – Anyone who has spent time in the ocean has probably felt something swish by their legs, leaving them with a question, “What is in the water with me?” Hmm? Maybe fish, sharks, debris, trash, broken seashells, seaweed, jellyfish, assorted marine life? There are things we cannot see – and we need to stay alert.


*The underestimated – And how about those things we just do not think about? Like how the shallow water could quickly become areas of deep water. How the sunny day could bring about a painful sunburned evening. How the cloud coverage that cooled things off could become a dangerous storm that created damage. How the wave coming toward you that looked like ‘a good one’ could bring you to your knees.


No, my children were not watching out for those things – but I was watching out for them – because I was their lifeguard.


What is a lifeguard? It is one who guards your life.


Even though this was years ago, I remember vividly the look on their faces as they finished riding the waves, burst out of the water, and ran with ‘shore faith’ that I was there waiting in the beach chair for them.…and then realizing they were not seeing the one they were looking for – me- their lifeguard.


They had drifted far from where I was – and far from where they needed to be. But, even though they were not seeing me, I had not taken my eyes off them.


Nor will I forget the relief on their faces as they looked around for me – and saw me coming toward them, waving my hands in the air, and calling out their names.


The first question they asked when we reunited, “How did we get so far away from where we were?”


Good question, kids. Good question. I have had to ask myself that often.


  • 6000 waves break at any given shore per day – Our Lord sees them all.
  • 2 Chronicles 16:9 says that the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth.
  • Aren’t you glad to have the Lord as your life guard?

Ann is a speaker and teacher. Contact her at or

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