In Texas, we refer to the months of July and August as “the dog days of summer.” During this time, temperatures in the hill country where I live regularly reach the high 90s, and even occasionally top the 100-degree mark.
These hot summer months always spark my youthful memories of learning to swim as a small child. I loved the water and went almost daily to swim lessons or open swim.
I’ll never forget the day the coach finally gave me permission to enter the deep water—a privilege achieved after swimming one complete lap without stopping–a major life triumph at that age!
Of course, I quickly graduated to a new challenge—learning to jump from the high diving board. Like some poor, unfortunate soul being forced to walk the plank in a pirate movie, I would reluctantly edge myself out to the end of the board, hold my nose and jump. It felt like forever from the time I jumped until I finally hit the water and plunged down into its cool depths, finally kicking my way up to break the surface for a breath.
Gasping for air, exhilarated and proud, I knew I had conquered a terrible fear. From then on, the freedom I feel floating in any body of water has remained one of my favorite pleasures.
In fact, the title of my book, Where the Water Meets the Sand, also references water. It refers to a special place along the ocean in Hawaii where Larry and I had planned to rendezvous after he was granted leave from his Vietnam deployment. That meeting was not to be, however, because he was killed shortly after deployment when his plane was shot down while on a combat mission.
For me, these summertime memories evoke stories, and stories remind me of the times that matter. Our lives are enriched by celebrating our stories and sharing new ones.
In my forthcoming workbook, Writing to Heal, I provide tips and encourage others to write their personal and family stories. My inspiration for the book comes from my conviction that, when we share our stories by writing them down and making them available to others, we realize we have more commonalities than differences.
This summer, I challenge you to jot down your own summer memories—both about your favorite times and the more difficult moments that taught you important life lessons. I’ll provide additional guidance in upcoming blog posts to help you use these notes to reflect on, craft and share your stories.
As you embark on this process, I think you’ll end up agreeing with me; writing does truly heal.