We live our lives in a crazy, seemingly unending fog. A fog filled with fears, doubts, unemployment, financial uncertainty, strained relationships, health problems, depression…so many difficulties and troubles. Sometimes we feel like giving up because we don’t have the strength to stay afloat any longer. Other times it’s just because we don’t know where we’re going and how long it will take to get there.
Let me tell you a story of someone who gave up…
It was a fog-filled morning, July 4, 1952, when a young woman named Florence Chadwick waded into the water off Catalina Island. She intended to swim the channel from the island to the California coast. Long-distance swimming was not new to her; she had been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions.
The water was numbingly cold that day. The fog was so thick she could hardly see the boats in her party. Several times sharks had to be driven away with rifle fire. She swam more than 15 hours before she asked to be taken out of the water. Her trainer tried to encourage her to swim on since they were so close to land, but when Florence looked, all she saw was fog. So she quit…only one-mile from her goal. Later she said, “I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”
Two months later, Florence got back in the water to try once more. This time was different. She swam from Catalina Island to the shore of California in a straight path for twenty six miles. The same thick fog set in, but this time Florence made it because she said while she swam, she kept a mental image of the shoreline in her mind. Florence Chadwick became the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel! It took her two tries, but she did it. She did what many thought impossible to do.
How many times have you felt like throwing your hands up and asking those in the boat to pull you in? How many times have you felt like quitting because life was simply too hard? How many times have you lost sight of the shore and not had the courage to keep going?
I want to encourage you today to never give up. Refuse to let your problems beat you. There is always a way to get through the difficult times. Always! Those times when you feel as if you are drowning and there is no end in sight, don’t let your inability to see the end stop you. Keep going.
When the struggle gets tough consider Florence Chadwick’s words: “I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.” You can make it. I know you can. Fight through the fog, dodge the sharks, keep your focus on the end even when there is no end in sight. Don’t allow your inability to see stop you. Keep pressing forward one stroke at a time. You are closer to the shore than you think.