The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision. –Helen Keller
On the fourth of July 1952, Florence Chadwick stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island, determined to swim the 26 miles to the shore of mainland California. She was the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways, and she enjoyed a challenge. At 50˚, the water was an ice bath and a thick fog obscured her view of the coastline; she could hardly see the boats accompanying her. Still, she swam for fifteen hours. When she begged to be taken out of the water along the way, her mother and coach, encouraged her to continue. She told Florence she was close and that she could make it. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, she stopped swimming and was pulled out. It was not until she was on the boat that she discovered the shore was less than half a mile away.
At a news conference the next day she said, “All I could see was the fog.…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 her task 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 Florence made it because she said that 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, eclipsing the men’s record by two hours!
She didn't lose sight of the shore because she focused on that image of the coast in her mind, and in this way, she reached her goal.
We have times of joy and celebration. But let us face it—we live in a world of struggle, that can create a fog which makes it difficult to find our way. We end up focusing on the fog because we cannot see the shore. Sometimes we feel like giving up because we do not have the strength to stay afloat any longer. Consider Florence Chadwick’s words: “I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.” If we look to Christ, he will show us the way.