We were vacationing in Florida at the time. My dad and I were at the pool at a hotel and he was sitting on the patio with someone else. I can’t remember now who it was. I wanted to get into the water and swim but it was over my head in the shallowest area. My dad seemed to express some hesitation but instructed me to stay on the steps and hold onto the handle rail that descended down into the water along the submerged steps. As a child, I always liked to test boundaries and see how far I could go. As I was swinging on the rail, putting myself at risk of coming off the last step into water that was over my head, the wet rail slipped through my fingers and I suddenly found myself under water, eyes wide open, holding my breath.

As I slipped under the water, I opened my eyes and realized I was in trouble. I remembered what my dad taught me that if I got into trouble in the water, I was to hold my breath and I did. It seemed like forever went by under the water and everything began to slow down. It was like the movement of the water and all time began to creep along as if it were coming to a halt.

Suddenly, it became dark and I was now above the scene looking down at it. The strange thing is that it seemed perfectly normal. I was probably 20 feet in the air looking down. I could see myself submerged in the water. I could see my dad and this other person sitting on the patio close by. I knew that I was underwater but this was some kind of interlude or intermission in the events. The thing that jumps out at me the most, about the interlude, was that it was completely peaceful. There was a milky, almost misty kind of view of this. There was a total absence of worry, fear, or anxiety. It was just as if ‘I just was’ and I was now observing this happening in front of me. I wasn’t scared, nor did I fear for my life. It’s difficult, actually, to describe the serenity of this state.

I’ve never taken drugs but I imagine this is the type of escape for which people are looking. But nothing would possibly compare to this experience in my opinion. I seemed to be aware of more things going on than normal. My view of the world was wider. It was as though I could see everything at once and even when I concentrated, with no effort at all on the actual event that also was a broader view. In that state, there’s enhancement of awareness. To a degree, it’s surprising, but seemed normal. I can’t underscore enough how peaceful, easy going and stress- free it was.

I witnessed my dad get up and run to the edge of the pool. Although I could see this, I had no real awareness of the passage of time. The rescue seemed planned. I don’t mean that in the sense that my dad had it in mind previously. He may have and that’s what triggered his quick response. But there was something pre-determined about it. I’m Wesleyan in my theological views, so predestination is not necessarily as important as free will in my theology. However, in this case I have to admit to a definite plan in place or at least a sensing of that. My dad jumped into the pool and rescued me. I watched this happen and the next thing I knew, I was standing at the pool’s edge with my dad on the ground.

When I was first in the water, I was initially afraid. But as soon as things slowed down the fear began to subside. That resulted in this top down view that was timeless, peaceful, serene, enhanced and stress-free.