Journal entry by Vicki Bunke
A week ago, Dr. Wasilewski and I traveled to Larchmont, New York to swim in the Long Island Sound – Swim Across America open water charity event. We were excited to see our friends Tony and Frank, the Co-Event Directors, whom we had met in Nashville back in 2019. Upon arrival to the Larchmont Yacht Club, the event’s location, we were fortunate to run into and meet Frank’s wife and one of their daughters. The two women were beyond gracious and offered to take us out on a short boat ride prior to dinner to show us the swim course.
It was a gorgeous, sunny late afternoon and the water was calm and clear. We rode out past the other boats and into the Long Island Sound so that we might get a glimpse of the city off in the distance. And we did! Afterward, we had to turn the boat around to return to the dock. Now, however, the water and waves were not calm. In fact, immediately upon turning around, we became drenched with salt water by the crashing waves. Initially, Frank’s family was apologetic, but after listening to Dr. Wasilewski and I’s laughter, they quickly realized we thought the change in conditions was quite entertaining and fun. At one point and while holding onto the side of the boat next to Dr. Wasilewski, I jokingly shouted across to her, “Oh my gosh, we are a walking metaphor!”
What did I mean by “walking metaphor?”
Many months ago, Tony asked me if I might share a few words at the event’s closing ceremony about the inspiration and story behind The Amazing Grace Swim Across America Tour. What nobody realized on the Friday evening boat ride was that we were just 2 days away from the day that would mark the 7th year in which Grace was diagnosed with cancer. And nobody was aware that I was planning on weaving that fact into my “Why I Swim” testimony the next day.
Seven years ago that Larchmont weekend, our family’s life went from what you might consider “smooth sailing” into what you might consider a “raging storm.” That Friday night boat ride into the Long Island Sound reminded me that just like nature’s weather, life’s weather can change in an instant with just one curve or turn of events. One minute you can be enjoying fair weather and the next, you find yourself in the middle of a terrible and horrible storm. One phone call, one twenty-four-hour period, one doctor visit, one tick of the clock, and there you are, in the storm of your life.
But guess what can make all the difference when life’s weather turns into a raging storm? The people who are in the boat with you. The people in the boat with you might not be able to change or stop the storm, but they can help you navigate through it. God never promised that we would live a storm-free life; but in my experience, not only does He remain with you, He also places just the right people in the boat with you. People like Dr. Wasilewski.
Not only was Dr. Wasilewski in the boat with us on that August 1st day in 2014 when she shared the following 3 words with Grace, “You have cancer,” but she was with us on that March 25th day in 2018, after I shared the following sets of 3 words with Grace, “We love you. See you soon. Well done, child.”
I firmly believe that God performs His greatest miracles through and in storms. And we will keep swimming until one of those miracles ends with the 3 words, “Cancer is cured.” Until then, thank you for being in my boat.
Here’s a video from the weekend: The Amazing Grace Swim Across America Tour-Larchmont
“Always remember, calm seas never make skillful sailors” (Anonymous)