Still a nun, in August 1973, I had joined others for prayer at Pirates’ Beach, Galveston, Texas. Anticipation of long days of quiet quickened our steps as we climbed the steps to the glass-enclosed cottage, loaned by wealthy friends for our use. Inside, spoils of their African safaris lined walls, couches, and floors: black, white, and red.

The following morning, I pulled on my suit, grabbed a towel, and took off down the dune toward the expansive beach, empty of vacationers. If others had forewarned me of the Bay’s rip tides and the scorching sun, I had not pick it up—No matter my swollen knees and unsteady gait, I plodded on.

After what seemed a two-block walk, spent waves began circling my toes. I continued walking, eyeing the waters massaging my calves, my thighs, incrementally getting higher. I squinted, the immensity of the green-blue expanse thrilling me. Then, it happened: a wave knocked me over onto the sandy bottom, striated by the water’s swirls, my elbow breaking the fall. I was alone, no one around.

There, I sat, the sun toasting my shoulders, a solitary sea gull squawking above me, until a solution surfaced: to position myself in front of in-coming wave strong enough to lift me to my feet. On my own, I was unable to stand. For what seemed forever, I sought the critical wave.

When finally upright, sunburn crisping my face and upper body, I trudged toward the beach, only to realize I was miles from our beach home.

In subsequent years, life has had its way in knocking me over, not without its lessons. Solutions do come in time, and with them, new growth.