Disobedience is Dangerous
That day Erin had been swimming all morning, jumping off of a very long pier when she noticed a group of teenagers who were teasing a boy. She couldn’t hear what they said, but the next thing she heard was a splash and noticed this boy was on the bottom and wasn’t coming up! Right away Erin could sense he couldn’t swim!! Hoping there would be someone to help, Erin watched the group of bullies running away. The lifeguard hadn’t noticed what had happened—and was much too far away to help. Erin knew she was this boy’s only hope of being rescued or he’d drown.
Erin was very aware of the real dangers of drowning because Erin’s mother, Grammy (who you read about in Macy's Barn Cat) told her and her siblings one story many times. It was the story of how Grammy and her younger brother had disobeyed their parents by playing in a rowboat tied to a dock. When she noticed the boat had started drifting far from shore, Grammy, whose name was Grace, told her little brother, Richard, to wait in the boat. Grace said she would swim to shore to get help since she was a good swimmer but Richard was just learning to swim.
Sadly, when 7-year-old Grace got help, Richard wasn’t in the boat. He had disobeyed not just his parents but also his older sister and didn’t wait for help. While trying to swim back to shore Richard had drowned. Disobedience is dangerous. This is what Erin taught her children each time she told the story of how her mother, Grammy, grew up as an only child, losing her only brother when he was just 7-years-old. Grace and Richard heard from their Quaker aunts that children are to obey their parents in the Lord, for this is right and so that they would live long on the earth because it’s not God who says the good die young but the world.
So when Erin saw this boy on the bottom of the very same bay, she quickly swam to the boy, stood on the sandy bottom, and pushed the boy up to the surface to get air! Erin hadn’t learned any lifesaving skills but when she grew up and became a lifeguard, she taught these skills to very young children—one was a little girl who saved her younger brother— a boy who was younger than Richard. This little girl was awarded a medal for saving her little brother and Erin’s reward was seeing this little blonde-haired boy very much alive at his summer swimming lessons where she taught swimming!!
So having no skills, but trusting God, ten-year-old Erin began walking along the bottom holding the teenager's legs, as she kept walking towards the ladder until she couldn’t hold her breath any longer. That’s when she’d let him go, resurface for more air and then swim back down again to lift the boy up to get air while she continued walking towards the ladder.
After repeating this several times, she finally reached the ladder, and thankfully, the lifeguard was there to pull the boy up out of the water. Erin also noticed there was a large crowd watching as she clung to the steps, coughing from swallowing so much water. Embarrassed, Erin assured everyone that she was fine, as she slipped past everyone and began hurrying back to the house, not wanting the attention or the praise.
This is one of the many benefits from receiving the unjust corrections you read about in On the Rock —God uses unfairness for good so that we are trained and no longer affected by criticism—nor praise—which can easily make us proud. And though the world says being proud is a good thing, God says the opposite. He says having pride comes before destruction, and being arrogant before a fall.
When Erin got back to the house, she never mentioned what had happened to her mother or aunt. But by the end of the day, everyone in town was talking about it but didn’t know who the little girl was who saved the boy. When Erin’s aunt asked if the little girl was her, she nodded and her mother only tearfully smiled and said, “Erin you did a good thing today” no doubt thinking of her own brother.