Quicksand – Feeling Unexpected Descent

Does anyone remember the year 1995? I kind of do. It was a time when I was young, so it’s not like I remember things vividly or anything. I remember Bill Clinton was president in 1995—I think his voice was something that distinctly resonated with my child self because it sounded unique to me. A couple of pretty iconic songs were released that year: “Kiss from a Rose” by Seal and “Waterfalls” by TLC. Both of which are songs I think any 90’s kid can recite—at least the chorus—without hesitation.

Then there were a plethora of movies released that I think a lot of people, including me, are still fond of. Pocahontas was released by Disney—not entirely historically accurate, but we can’t deny that “Colors of the Wind” is a beautiful ballad. Batman Forever was in that mix—I know a lot of young boys like me really enjoyed that movie—but looking back now it is a horrendous fail of a Batman movie. On that same tip of action-packed movies, Braveheart also came out in ’95, showing every dude that wearing a kilt can…actually be kind of awesome.

A not-so-blockbuster film I readily remember from my ’95 childhood is Jumanji. I’m sure you know the movie; it’s a story about a family who finds a magical, jungle themed board game and start to play it. The crux of the story is that everything that happens in the game becomes reality for them; it becomes a dangerous game filled with real life giant spiders, poachers, and crazy jungle antics. One scene in particular that always scared me—preceding the other scene of giant spiders that horrified me—was the scene of Robin Williams’ floor becoming quicksand.

He reads, before the magic unfolds, “Beware the ground on which you stand. The floor is quicker than the sand.”

Next thing we know, he is sinking in the floor and no one can pull him out. He is rapidly descending but has seemingly no control of the inevitable outcome. His family tries various tools to pull him out, but to no avail. This dude, Robin Williams, is going to die in his own floor.

Yeah, tell me this isn’t terrifying nightmare fuel. From the movie Jumanji (1995).

It’s a scary proposition that reflects a lot in our lifetimes. We can be walking on our way peacefully, and then all the sudden we’re sinking with no control. Often times we don’t even know what started the sinking—the uncontrollable descent in our own pit—it just happens. When those moments occur, I can tell you from personal experience, it’s frustrating, depressing, and maddening. I just want to scream, “What the heck!?” and even when someone tries to pull me out, I just keep sinking. Yeah, we all go through those scenarios.

Conscious about quicksand

There’s good news though! Normal quicksand, the most common that we would ever encounter, will never be able to suck us all the way under. Yes, contrary to all those movies we see, real, common quicksand will probably only suck us to waist height, maybe chest height if we’re unlucky. We are not going to go all the way under and die if it’s normal quicksand. In fact, the biggest danger of quicksand (besides being out in the desert with no one around and no food or water) is being caught in it by a large body of water. The concern is that a high tide can sweep across us and drown us[1].

What does that mean for our own “life quicksand”?

It means we’re assured that whatever our circumstance is, no matter how quickly or slowly we seem to be going under—we’re not going to drown. It will suck us down deep, yes. It will be difficult, almost impossible to escape, definitely. But it will not be our end. It will not finish us; and quite frankly, the biggest danger to our failure is the oncoming high tide while we struggle in our pit. It’s when we get into a quicksand situation that allows us to be drowned by a tidal wave of issues as time passes.

Escaping our quicksand

How in the world do we get out then? We take some tips from a real-life encounter with the stuff.

First, we should be patient. We should ready our minds, and fortify our spirits to get out. We will get out, no doubt, but struggling immediately is only going to make it harder. I can guarantee you, God will be there for you if you believe in Him—if you cry out to Him for help because you’re stuck and descending into a pit, He isn’t going to turn away. Just check out this passage:

“I waited patiently for the Lord,
and He turned to me and heard my cry for help.
He brought me up from a desolate pit,
out of the muddy clay,
and set my feet on a rock,
making my steps secure.” –Psalm 40:1-2

When you’re sinking, be patient.

Second, we’re always told to make little movements—wiggle our legs a bit—to let water make the sand moveable again. That’s true for our lives, too.  We should make little movements, in patience, to start our escape! We’re not going to get out of the depths magically; that’s not how it works. We need to believe in ourselves, have a will to start changing the situation, and act. If we’re going deep into debt rapidly, we can take up a small part-time job to start making money back. If we’re into a deep spot with our significant other, we can start with the smallest move—admitting we’re wrong—and do little things to build their confidence in us again. Losing a lot in our athletic competitions?  We can stay positive and start training to make improvements, no matter how small, because they build.

Original image by: How it Works Magazine

The last step in escaping is to lean back and spread ourselves out for buoyancy. In natural quicksand, we’re supposed to do this to spread our surface area and wait to float back up. So, just like that, we can definitely take small movements and lean back—we can stay calm and let our actions float us back to the surface. It’s when we’re so angry; so stressed and so determined to create chaos to escape the sand that we ultimately tire ourselves out. We drain all of the energy we have—that same energy we could use later to achieve greatness.

When we remember to calm ourselves after making the smallest moves and begin to rise, we free ourselves. We save our potential, and give ourselves a chance to get back to walking; get back to our own treks. It’s not like our fears from Jumanji or the fictional scenarios we see at all. The moment we start the descent in our own quicksand is the same moment when we know that it’s impossible to go so deep over our heads that we can’t find freedom.

We do need to watch where we’re stepping from time to time. Sometimes there are signs to warn us that where we’re going is laden with sand ready to suck us under.

However, we don’t need be afraid when, while walking in confidence, we stumble into a pit of it. Because we will survive.

Written by: Michael “Bboy Roach1” Roach

[1] http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160323-can-quicksand-really-suck-you-to-your-death


Author: f3foranswers

A Christ-first B-boy, writer, and fitness-nut. Owner of the blog "F3 For Answers".

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