Jean Croker Petke

Swamp Survival

Making it across the swamp, all the way to solid ground, has been a scenario oft repeated in my life. I shared my original swamp story on this blog last week. That story has spawned much pondering and many conversations over the years — with family and friends and strangers.

Though details may vary, the realities of swamp stories are:

  • feeling lost
  • wandering in unfamiliar territory
  • fearing the unknown
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • being abandoned
  • lacking knowledge of how to proceed
  • unsure of survival
  • hopelessness

Maybe your life doesn’t feel like a swamp that threatens to suck you to its muddy bottom. Perhaps your life is more like a zoo, filled with interesting creatures at every turn, all demanding food and attention, and cages that need to be cleaned. Maybe it’s like the desert, where safe shelter and cool water are scarce, and loneliness covers you like the night sky. Or perhaps you’re in the forest, where all the trees look alike, the trail has disappeared, and the night noises steal your sleep.

So what’s a person to do when you feel abandoned and scared and have no idea if you’ll ever set foot on solid ground again?

1. Take courage and share your fear — even with a stranger. You’ll find you’re not the first person who’s been lost in a swamp.

2. Assess what you have — your life, a bit of energy, the ability to look ahead, perhaps just for a tree trunk to hold onto for a bit.

3. Rest — life looks better after we’ve allowed ourselves to be restored.

4. Move forward — there’s no value in continuing to look behind you at what has already been.

5. Check your boots — lest the swamp water flows in the top and sinks you.

6. Keep your lunch dry — guard carefully those things that nourish you, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. They are your lifeline.

You can make it to solid ground.

Until next Tuesday . . .

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