I’ve dedicated quite a few blogs to stories about Amanda. This time I want to share a story about Sam, our 2nd born. You know, the middle child is typically the one who feels passed over. Parents tend to make much over the firstborn and the baby always gets ‘all the attention’, but the middle child feels just there, not outstanding in anyway…average…maybe even boring. I have no idea if Sam felt this way or not. We know he was always quiet, and he was a relatively easy kid to raise, but if he felt passed over, he never indicated that. Today I want to describe Sam’s day in the sun…though he never set out to be a hero.

We were about to set out on one of our yearly family vacations to the coast in Mombasa – a yearly pilgrimage when the kids discovered the allurements of the beach. However, Joshua, our eldest, had had a serious ear infection in which his eardrum had ruptured. He was well on the mend, but we wanted to clear him for swimming, with a missionary doctor with whom we were friends. So, we made the hour-long trek to her residence one Sunday afternoon, to have her check out Josh’s ear and advise if it was safe for him to swim. On our way into her winding driveway, we passed the normally dry little lily pond, which was on that day full to overflowing, having been filled with a hose which was still in the cement pond. When we passed it, I got an uncomfortable feeling. Was it a premonition, a mother’s instinctual “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” kind of thing? Who knows? I just was not happy about that overflowing little pool.

We found the good doctor away, but were reassured by the live-in help, that she would not be away very long. So, we waited. And waited. The kids began to get bored, and I began to get sleepy in the late afternoon tropical heat. The kids finally went outside to play, all 3. I was still drowsy. Through the haze of sleepiness, I could hear Sam’s bossy little voice (he was about 5 ½ years old) chastising his little sister, “Amanda! What are you doing? Amanda, get out of there! You’re not supposed to be there! Amanda!” Through the fog in my brain, a bolt of panic shot…the pond! I was instantly wide awake, asking “Where’s Amanda?”, while running to the window to look out. Sure enough, there was something floating in the pond, with Sam standing at the edge, clearly incensed with his sister’s bad manners. Chip, who had been sitting in the chair next to the window, when he heard my panicked “Where’s Amanda?”, and saw me running towards the window, was up and flying out the door in a shot. It kind of reminds me of when Peter and another disciple (presumably John) were running to the tomb where Jesus was buried to check out the women’s report that He was missing, this other guy outran Peter and got there first (John 20:3-4). By the time I got to the pond, Chip had reached it to discover that our little ‘bossy hero’ had grabbed Amanda’s wrist and had dragged her out of the pond (it was shallow, but somehow Amanda wound up face down in the water). When Amanda did not respond to his demanding questions, he did what was natural for him – reached down to pull her out, because he knew she was not supposed to be there! He stood looking bewildered as Chip swooped down, whisked her away to the grass, laid her down and started giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (as she was not breathing). I just stood by, feeling helpless and angry with myself for not remembering that the pond was full of water. Thankfully, with only 1 or 2 breaths, Amanda coughed up a bunch of water and came to…breathing and crying.

The live-in help got us towels to dry Amanda off and a blanket to wrap her in, as she was shaking uncontrollably. Truth be told, I think I was too! The doctor friend returned not long after that and wound up with 2 patients to check out. Both checked out well. Josh was given the green light to swim and Amanda was none the worse for wear. Interestingly, she ended up with a life-long love affair with swimming and would do so any opportunity she could get. After that incident, we were very keen to get someone to teach her to swim at the earliest opportunity!

We have on more than one occasion asked Sam whether he knew what he was doing – saving his sister’s life, and he claimed he had no idea at all. He just knew Amanda was not supposed to be in that water and was determined to get her to behave! Our unwitting hero. There are times when bossiness can actually pay off! Thank you, Sam, from the bottom of our hearts!

Isn’t it so true that so often in this life, we only know to do the next right thing. We have no inkling what repercussions our actions may have, nor the results of these actions. We often can’t know if we will end up heroes or just being bossy. Nevertheless, often all we can do is to go by what we know, do what we are convinced is right, and trust the results to God. I’m just thankful that God can use anything, even bossiness, for something good.

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