Perspective Piece: Why the plunge?

Audrey Lauer, Guest Writer

The Puget Sound, one of Audrey’s favorite places to take the plunge, starts to become colder as the sun begins to set. (Hailey Echan)

Whenever I find myself sinking into stress, I make my way to the beach and let the waves wash over every thought that was trying to break my spirit. Literally. In the Puget Sound. 

The water is about fifty five degrees fahrenheit but rain, shine, or snow, I endure the plunge because I find comfort in the liberty that follows. 

To wade in, let the cold past my belly button, and eventually lift my feet off of the sand is undeniably painful. But if you’re willing to push past the discomfort, you enter into a haven that is beautiful, personal, and exquisitely still. 

Prior to dipping my toes into the water, it’s not uncommon to hesitate, but as soon as I’m being comforted by the waves, forced to control my breathing, and focus solely on the power surging through the water, I enter into a place of security. 

There is a joy in slipping under the water, then resurfacing, to emerge with a new sense of peace. I swim around, drink in the view, then slowly swim back to shore and let the air chill my core. I walk out of the water a new creation. Baptized yet again. Every anxiety shrunk to almost nothing.

I’m only twenty years old and I’ve already endured more stress than I would ever have hoped to experience. This is because I grew up striving for excellence. I have an incredible family. Two parents. Great siblings. But I caught myself that in order to be worth anything in this life, you had to prove it. So I did. 

I slept six hours on a good night. My dad had to wake me up three times every morning. I never remembered the first two. Everyday I ran from one obligation to the next. I did it all. I also did it all well. Thus by the time I reached my sophomore year I was thoroughly exhausted. 

Lake Union, a short walk from campus, is a nice access point to the water. (Marissa Lordahl)

 My life looks a lot different than it used to, but when my life starts to crack, I always made it to the beach. It started with my older brother. He was the one who first showed me the joy of swimming in cold water, and at first I called him crazy.

During my time in high school, however, I learned the value of stepping outside of normality and seeking comfort in places other than hard-fought success. It is a valiant thing to succeed in this life, but if it comes at the cost of one’s soul, it’s not worth it. 

The water is a source of refreshment, a reset button. It reminds me of who and what is important, and it keeps my mind anchored to the true source of life. Jesus is my kind and faithful friend. My Heavenly Father is both love and strength. The Holy Spirit never ceases to fight on my behalf. These truths are easy to forget, but on the surface of the freezing water, it’s hard to think of anything else.

No demons can haunt me when I’m in the water because it is in the salt and ice that I am able to escape the trials of this life.