This is a story about how one should never underestimate any father’s ability to mortify his family, whether intentional or not.

On one of our family vacations many years ago, we visited a theme park that had a snorkeling attraction.  All seven of us decided swimming with the fish sounded like lots of fun.  Our older children were high school age and in the prime of their “Dad, please don’t embarrass us!” years.  As usual, they would be staying as far away from me as possible, so surely there was nothing I could do in a pool of fish that could humiliate them, right?


It started out innocuously enough.  I communicated to park personnel that I did not want to snorkel if it meant removing my eyeglasses, as what’s the point if you can’t see the fish?  They assured me the masks would seal over the sidepieces and that people snorkeled in glasses all the time (Ironically, I would soon be making a “spectacle” of myself!).

The tank was perhaps ten feet deep, well over my head.  I swam several feet from the edge before putting my face under the surface.  The instant I submerged, my mask filled with water and I coughed and gagged a little, but was totally okay and in complete control.  I started treading water with my feet as I attempted to adjust the mask to accommodate my glasses.  Suddenly, I was grabbed from both sides by two young lifeguards and “rescued” to the side of the aquarium.  The next thing I knew, I was sitting on the edge as they stood above me announcing to the entire building, “Sir, are you okay?”

Of course, all of my family--and almost everyone else in the facility--rushed over to make sure I was alright.  As they realized that once again, it was just Dad being Dad, their concern was quickly replaced by that old, familiar embarrassment.  I think I recall my teenagers actually covering their faces, but I could be mixing up this memory with a thousand others.  For once, I might have been more red-faced than they, but there was definitely enough to go around for everyone.

So for the rest of the day for all the patrons who were in the snorkeling attraction with us, I was the guy who almost drowned.  I actually saw a child point at me several hours later in a completely different area of the park.

There is not a person who has ever walked (or swum!) this planet, who would not have been drowning in their sin if not for the saving grace of Jesus.

“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24).

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).