A few days ago, I witnessed an incredible rescue near our house, on Sunset Cliffs. Wayne thought I should share it with you, this month, because it has some interesting food for thought. Here goes:
I was walking our dog, Franki, on a lovely afternoon, when all of a sudden a firetruck & ambulance came screaming by. Since we live near the ocean, and very high cliffs, there are often situations where lifeguards have to get involved in some sort of rescue. I figured this was one of those occasions. When Franki & I got to the spot where people do cliff diving, tons of people were watching a major rescue going on. This little area has a small cove, and a path to the water that people go up & down on. Lots of surfers go in & out to surf, from this area. The way the rocks are formed at the bottom of the cliff, makes water entry more accessible at low tide. But it’s much more difficult at high tide. This is not a good place for beginners, swimmers, or boogie boarders to ‘enjoy the ocean.’ It’s an area for experienced surfers only. Apparently, some guys & girls had tried to get either in, or out of the water, in this little cove area, when it was filled up at high tide. They got swept into the cove, because the waves were HUGE on this particular day, and the tide was super strong. Two girls were stranded on rocks, near the back of the cove, with one lifeguard waiting with them. Several guys were trying to paddle in on boogie boards and/or surfboards. They struggled with great difficulty, to get out of the water, and the lifeguards had to guide them out.
The thing that impressed me, was watching those lifeguards. They knew exactly what they were doing. There was one guard, standing on the top of the cliffs, watching the water. He counted the time between the wave sets, so that the guys on the boards could have just enough time to jump up on the bottom rock, and climb up the cliff. I listened to this lifeguard yelling at the last guy, about the timing of the waves coming in, as he struggled to hang onto the side of the cliff. Two guards came in on a jet-ski, to rescue the girls stuck in the cove. One jumped off the jet-ski, and had to wait around in the swirling water and big waves, until he could time it just right to go get each girl with his rescue float, and take them out to the jet-ski (which could not come in the cove for very long, due to the waves). The lifeguard had to be patient, and not panic, as the water churned him around. When the time was exactly right, he swam over & urgently yelled at one of the girls to grab the float, while the lifeguard who had been waiting with the girls, helped her do so. One minute, he was patiently and calmly waiting, the next, he was loudly yelling at her to grab the float. The urgency of the moment was not lost on me. They would not have made it, if he hadn’t urged her on so strongly. They had very little time. The guard on the top of the cliff, continued to do the ‘spotting’ for the next wave set. Once the girls were safe, he helped count sets for the lifeguard in the cove, so that she could swim out, and climb up the cliff to safety. This lifeguard had to wait on a ledge, with waves pounding her, all the while, not panicking. It was all so precise & impressive.
The dedication these people have to saving lives, is so incredible. At great risk to themselves, every step of the way, they worked diligently, to be sure no one lost their life. They worked together. They were precise, and very well trained. They were fearless. They stayed at it, until the job was done. They remained calm. But when the time for urgency came, they met the moment with swift action. They were not lackadaisical, nor untrained, uncaring, or unclear. For me, it was an inspiring moment. I want to be that dedicated to saving lives. I want to be highly trained, and maintain my composure, as I serve the Lord. But when the moment calls for it, I want to urgently call others out of the world, into life with Jesus. I want to be diligent, and not give up. I want to be fearless. I want to see unity & dedication in the Body of Christ. As the old song says, “rescue the perishing”… I am thankful for the lessons I learned that day, watching San Diego lifeguards do their job. I guess the term ‘LIFE guard,’ has taken on a whole new meaning.