The Day My Life Changed Despite COVID-19

Two weeks ago today, my life suddenly changed. And I didn’t even know it was coming.

No, it wasn’t a spiritual transformation. But it did have elements of water baptism….let me explain…

Fed up with this COVID quarantine, one afternoon our family snuck over to a friend’s house to have some much needed face to face time with other human beings.

Fifteen minutes after our arrival, the kids all went down to the “swamp” on this friend’s property and the adults stayed up at the house discussing the deep and funny things of life.

Needing some sunshine, the adults decided to walk outside and talk gardens and chickens and tractors. I guess there was a lull in the conversation and my friend had the bright idea to go find the kids. She asked if I was up for it, and naively I said, “Sure! I’d love to see this famous swamp my kids always talk about.”

She wrestles me up a pair of mud boots to replace my cute Converse shoes and starts grabbing towels and jackets. It’s like 75-80 degrees outside, so I’m like, Hmm, why the jackets?

Reading my mind, she says, “Well, I always have the best of intentions of staying dry, but every time I end up wetter than I imagined so I’m bringing these to keep warm.”

“Ok” I say. Honestly puzzled.

Now, all this time, I’ve pictured this swamp being a large puddle of muddy water maybe ankle high. I always thought the kids exaggerated when they talked about all the stunts they did in the swampy water.

And I never understood why my kids brought like 3 changes of clothes, but kids always exaggerate, right? I bet I could walk through the swamp and stay dry!

I had NO idea.

So the 4 of us loaded up in the farm truck with the stack of blankets, towels and hoodies my friend packed and headed towards the swamp. I had no idea how my life was about to change.

We got out of the truck and my feet instantly sank in the deep slimy mud. It looked like something from a Louisiana reality show!

Unbeknownst to me, we still had a ways to walk before we got to the actual swamp. This was just as far as the truck could go without getting stuck!

We started walking, and I started to realize this is way different than what I envisioned. But I’m following along, just trying not to lose my balance as I walk through the sludge. We took a left and ducked into some trees and walked awhile more.

Then my friend and her husband stopped. They started taking stuff out of their pockets and setting it down on an over turned canoe. My friend stepped in the water and started walking to the other side like it was nothing.

I’m still at the bank staring into the ocean of swamp water. “Umm, so we’re walking in THAT?” I asked. “Yeah, girl, come on in,” she says with a wave as the water is now pouring into her knee-high boots!

I look down at my favorite pair of American Eagle skinny jeans and new Texas tee-shirt and think Now I understand why my daughter always wants to wear shorts over here, even when it’s 50 degrees! You don’t wear jeans to a swamp!

By now Adam’s boot high in the water and I’m still calculating in my head how to get through this. My friend says something like, “You wanted to go find the kids….right?!”

I replied in my head You’re crazy, I don’t need to find the kids. I’m just fine over here. Dry.

Or maybe I said that out loud. Can’t remember.

But finally, I closed my eyes and walked in the swampy water. The ground squished under my boots and all I could think was how thankful I was for the boots! I am not a fan of walking barefoot in mud! Much less in mud I can’t see!

I know….call me crazy!

Well I finally made it to the other side, making all kinds of racket in the process. But that wasn’t it. We tromped on for 15 more minutes through more of the same swamp water. Finally we find the kids. Actually we heard them first.

They had stopped where the swamp turns into a muddy lake and are pushing each other in and screaming.

One of the girls immediately calls to my friend and challenges her to jump in. It doesn’t take much persuasion. Five seconds later my friend, her daughter and my daughter are linked arm and arm, jumping into the deep swamp water.

When their heads emerge again they yelled, “Julie, jump in!”

“Not a chance! I’m good right here!” I replied. The thought of walking back in wet skinny jeans did NOT sound fun.

My friend swam back to shore, dripping wet and shivering with mud caked all in her short, curly hair. “Wow!” she said shaking the excess water off. “I needed that! It just resets everything!!”

That’s when more things clicked for me. The towels. The jackets. The talk of getting wetter than planned and having to walk back freezing.

But it “resets everything” she said…and was worth it to her.

Man, don’t we all need a dose of that? Especially during times like this!

Jumping into the swamp may not “reset” my brain like it did for my friend, but other things do. And they’re probably just as crazy to someone else.

I’ve heard that drinking a Whataburger chocolate shake with two straws could change my life, but now I know jumping in the swamp can too! And I can testify that laughter is the best medicine, even for COVID-19!

So what’s YOUR thing? What “resets everything” for you? Exercise? Date nights? Laying out in the sun? Shopping? Reading? Talking with a friend? I encourage you to take time this week and do one of them and see if refreshes you like cool swamp water!

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