When I was 24, I nearly drowned in Fiji. M and I had taken a year's career break to travel the world and, one day when he was laid low with a fever, I decided to go for a snorkel on the beach nearest to our accommodation which had a big sign saying it was safe for swimming. I was enjoying watching all the tropical fish beneath me when I suddenly realised I was being swept out to sea by a hidden current. There was only one person in sight and they were far enough away that they wouldn't have heard me shout. Plus, to do so would have involved removing my snorkel and treading water in difficult conditions. Half of me was panicking and the other half of me realised I had to stay calm in order to survive. I looked down under the water through my mask and swam diagonally across the current. It was very slow, but I could see that I was making progress. Thank goodness for that mask and snorkel. Eventually I made it ashore, wobbly-legged and emotional, stumbling across the sand to safety. I knew then I would never go wild swimming alone again, no matter how safe it looked.
I write this now because, aged 41, it's felt a bit like this going through Coronavirus. Scared and panicky, but trying to stay calm. Coming out the other side, but still feeling wobbly. Learning life lessons and looking at the world a little differently. There is beauty, but also danger. We are alive, but we are mortal. We need each other, we are not made to be alone. Physically I am recovered now, but emotionally I am still getting there. Blue sky, kind people and positive news stories lift me up. And Holy Week - was there ever a better time to celebrate light after darkness?