Clear blue water, sparkling warmly in the pool, a beautiful cottage, delicious meals and wonderful company.
That’s what I remember of December, 2009.
My hubby and I had travelled to Mombasa, together with our kids and one other couple – good friends – with their kids. A bunch of happy holiday makers, out to have a good time before January slouched in.
We spent most of our time swimming, as most revelers do, and came out just long enough to stuff ourselves with whatever grub was available.
It was glorious, one of the best holidays I’d had in recent years.
Mostly, I loved being in the water; Mombasa can be quite hot in December of course, which for me usually means much time in water.
But one of my biggest frustrations was that I couldn’t see very well without my contact lenses, and I hated having to remove them to swim. So, I devised a clever way of being in the pool with them still in my eyes. Just put on goggles, tie them extra tight and jump in.
Genius, I thought.
Not so, I discovered.
For as I climbed out of the pool late one afternoon, everything suddenly looked oddly imbalanced – one side of my world was clear, the other strangely fuzzy.
My right lens had fallen out! And the tiny thing was floating somewhere in the pool.
Now a typical contact lens is about the size of the nail on your little finger. Plus it’s transparent, like a piece of glass. But, petrified of not being able to see for the rest of the holiday, I rushed back in, determined to find it.
“Everyone, please stop swimming!” I shrieked.
And since almost everyone in there was a friend, they politely stopped for a bit.
“What’s up?’ one asked, more than a little surprised.
“My lens!” I yelped. “It’s in the pool and I need to find it.”
“As in contact lens?” he asked. “Are you serious, Mugzy??”
Yep. Nothing was going to come between me and my holiday. Most definitely not the Fuzz.
“No one swim please. I’m finding it!” I shouted, carefully treading the water. So long as it was in the pool, I was going to find it.
“Dear Lord,” I prayed, “Help!”
I held one hand over my fuzzy eye and scanned the pool with the other. It had to be in there somewhere!
But the water just shimmered beautifully, each drop looking tantalizingly like my lens.
I must say I’ve had my fair share of drama with contacts over the years, though.
Once, as a teenager, I was alighting from a matatu when one popped out of my eye and fell right onto the steps. I had just a few seconds to find it before it was crushed to pieces, and explaining to the makanga what it was, how it looked and what I needed to do – in two seconds – was out of question. So, I blocked the door with my hands while I desperately scanned the steps. You better believe I found it!
And some years later, not yet knowing the Lord (having taken a considerable detour, like most young adults), I found myself frantically searching for it on a certain dance floor. As soon as it had fallen off, my friends, knowing how badly I needed it, had formed a circle around me to prevent others from crushing it. Happily, we found it safe and sound.
But that was then. No such dangers were in the horizon anymore.
“Guys, please don’t swim!” I was entreating anyone who would listen, as the rest looked on incredulously.
Sounds ridiculous now, even as I remember, but I was not going to give up. And I had faith that even if I couldn’t see that little lens, the Lord could. So I prayed again.
“Lord, I don’t know exactly where my lens is, but I know You do. Please, please help me find it.”
I was fully expectant that He would show it to me, so I carefully trod the water for almost an hour, desperately searching for it.
But the Lord had other plans.
“Babes, come out of the water. It’s getting late.” My hubby. I could tell he was getting exasperated, not least because it was almost supper time.
But I couldn’t believe that the Lord was not going to show it to me. He knew how much I needed it. He knew.
“Look, I’ll help you get it in the morning,” my hubby was saying.
Morning? Who knew where it would be by then! Pulverized overnight, maybe, by the machine that cleaned the pool, I don’t know.
But the sun was setting, and it soon became clear that I had to get out.
“But you’ll try in the morning, right?” I asked hubby morosely.
“Promise,” he said. “They clean the pool at 6am. I’ll be here by then.”
“I promise!” he repeated, just to get me out of the pool, I was sure.
And for the rest of that evening, I watched with trepidation as my hubby had a wonderful time with our friends – courtesy of a guest named the Famous Grouse – at a nearby restaurant where we had gone for dinner.
He didn’t know the Lord yet back then, in case you were wondering. But that changed soon thereafter, I’m happy to report.
Anyhow suffice it to say that by the time we went to sleep that night, I wasn’t sure my hubby would be able to keep his promise.
So I set my alarm. And at 5.55am sharp:
“Ed, you need to wake up!” I prodded.
So the hubby got up, put on some clothes, picked a bottle of water – to help drown that chap, the Grouse, methinks – and headed out.
“How do I explain to the pool guy what a contact lens looks like?” he asked from the door, still half asleep.
“Tell him it’s like the nail on his little finger,” I offered.
And with that, the poor man made his way to the pool.
“Dear Lord, please.” I prayed quietly.
And to my utter surprise, Brethren, within a few minutes, my husband was back.
“Babes, we found it!” he exclaimed excitedly.
I couldn’t believe it! Incredibly, the poolman had been able to find my beloved lens in less than ten minutes.
It was in the cleaning machine, in one perfect piece, safely ensconced in the cables that pulled dirt from the pool.
And now there it was, shining like a little pebble, in the palm of my hubby’s hand.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried
into the midst of the sea..