We are surrounded by heroes, the vast majority of which never find themselves in a situation requiring them to express their heroic nature. And yet, many of us—perhaps even most of us—would rise to the occasion when the moment requires it. One such hero, Edson Bourn of Jacksonville, Florida, was pushed to the limit and beyond in this intense, pulse-pounding story, which appeared in the August 2014 issue of Guideposts. It’s a powerful reminder that we are all capable of much more than we think we are, and that when we think we have exhausted our resources of courage and strength, they will be replenished if our intentions are pure and our faith intact.
THE MIRACULOUS SURGE
Walking down the beach that day, he was so wrapped up in his own problems he almost didn’t hear the girls screaming
Shrieks of joy, the sounds of happy children, reverberated across Rhode Island’s Napatree Beach. Two little girls playing in the sand. But I was barely aware of any of it. I plodded along, oblivious of the crashing waves at high tide. Late afternoon.
I ran my fingers through my wind-tangled hair, as if to clear my head. I’d come to this isolated spit of land on my sailboat, a place to escape. My wife and I had recently separated, our marriage in shambles. I worried about the toll on our boys, just six and eight.
It seemed like forever since I’d heard them laugh. But I didn’t know what to do to make things better.
The girls. I’d meant to tell them to stay away from the water. The currents could be dangerous. Now one of them was in the ocean. Beyond the surf line. I could just hear her screams over the waves. The undertow.Any second now she’d be swept away.
I ran across the hard-packed sand as fast as I could. The other girl was at the edge of the surf, maybe 20 yards away, yelling, all the while wading deeper into the water herself.
“Wait! Stop! Don’t go any farther!” I charged into the waves and was reaching for her when a wall of water overwhelmed us. I clawed to the surface and for half a second I saw her disappear under another big breaker. I dove to the spot. I’m a strong swimmer, but I could feel the current pulling me hard.
Where is she? Splashing. A gasp for air. There. I grabbed (more…)