Drowning in Jamaica.

Bonjour! I hope this email finds you well. Lol, I’m kidding, this ain’t your annoying coworker or manager — this is your friendly neighborhood Jum. I do seriously hope you’re doing well though and that you’ve been able to in some degree enjoy the weather and new life around us.

Drowning in Jamaica.

I’m not totally sure the best way to start this piece but dance with me? Cool.

I graduated in May and the week before graduation I took a trip to Jamaica with a couple of friends. I had the time of my life out there and have encouraged every and anyone to make sure to travel to that beautiful country as soon as possible. I really wish I was there right now — like I am literally crying that the heat I am experiencing today in Maryland isn’t accompanied by pools or a beach seconds away from my bed. It hurts.

For all of Jamaica’s beauty, I learned a few things:

  1. Everything is irie, mon. Meaning, everything is okay. No worries. (It’s that DJ Khaled GIF where he’s in the backseat of a car, windows down and he’s just vibing.)

The resort we stayed at had five pools, each sort of serving a different purpose. One of the pools had a collection of water slides. On the morning of the day that we decided to tackle the water slides, I had an interview with one of my most desired companies to work for. I fought so hard to move that interview to the next week when I was certain I’d have stable WiFi and wouldn’t possibly be in a sweat cause of the Jamaican heat but to no avail.

The interview went well, though. I thought I had at the very least secured a second interview and was confident in myself afterward. So confident that when I joined my guys at the slides, I was determined to get on every slide no matter the degree of difficulty. And that was going really well for me. The first four slides were dope, fast and perfectly shot me into the pool before it. I’d “swim” or walk out with ease. No wahala. No problems. Everything irie.

But the last one had some other things in mind. This last slide was essentially a chute that led to a bowl that kind of spun you out like you were being flushed down a toilet. That’s chill. The problem here was that you were flushed out into a portion of water that was 6-ft-9-in deep — every other bit of water in the resort was just a little over 4-ft deep. Now, before taking the plunge, we were made aware that we’d be dropping into deeper waters. But once again, everything irie, mon. No vex.

One of my guys was a bonafide swimmer so this wasn’t a “tall” task for him, he took the first crack at it and came out just fine. The next guy couldn’t swim at all, so him going down the slide required some nudging and faith that he’d be “saved” by our other friend. That’s all cool and dandy, no wahala. Myself on the other hand — cool man like Jum? Yeah, I wasn’t scared at all. I’m like this ain’t nothing for a G like me. I’m finna’ hit that slide, flush out and skate out that water. I mean it’s only 6’9”!

*cue “Hope” by Twista and Faith Evans*: Jum did not skate out the water.

Instead, with my risk-taking self, I hit the slide and after being spun, I flushed out head first. Once I hit the water, I tried to correct myself upward and grab a breath, but my head was getting pelted by the flushing water. I tried, fam, and kept trying to see my way out of the pool, but oh boy, ’twas tough. All I know is, I saw the lifeguard jump in and essentially push me to the edge so that I could get out. The lifeguard then says, “ay mon, if you can’t swim, don’t jump in.” In a bit of disbelief and disappointment, I drag my feet over to my friends who are practically rolling on the pavement in laughter. From then on, I knew it was up and stuck for me.

About 10 minutes later, the news had hit one or two of our group chats: “Ay, bruh! Why we go on this one slide, and Jummy almost drowned cause he couldn’t swim back up. 😂😂🤣🤣” Don’t worry, it’s more funny than scary.

I don’t know if I would say that my confidence was shaken after that event but I do know from then, I was determined to prove to myself and to my guys that I actually could swim and that this was just an aberration. While they were away, I spent the next hour practicing in another pool. I felt good, I felt confident.

By the time I got back to the room, it felt like I was on TMZ or Worldstar, having to answer for my failure and whether or not I would go back to conquer that slide. I wanted to. But I kept rationalizing “what if I fail again? Getting saved twice won’t do me well.” So, I never got back on it and left Jamaica with that small sting.

To make things “worse,” one of my guys who had heard of my “drowning” after it happened had told his wife, so while they were on vacation about two weeks later, he records a video of her saying “Oh, let me stay on this side, I don’t want to be like Jummy.” 🙃

Alright, alright, that’s enough laughing at me, here’s the point of this story:

Even when I couldn’t find my way out of the water, I knew I was good because the lifeguard’s duty, although he might not have wanted to have to, was to make sure I didn’t drown and if need be, save me.

As I write this, I am once again in that beautiful crucible of life: job hunting. It’s a crucible because I mean have you ever tried it? It’s taxing and frustrating, oftentimes depressing and discouraging and it’s not really that fun.

There’s beauty, however, in that, I am a lot more optimistic and hopeful this time around than when I had graduated from undergrad and I’m also just more confident in myself. But even more so, this phase of life, for me, is helping me relearn to depend and trust God to do what He’s supposed to do:

Protect me. Provide for me. Lead me. Save me. Don’t let me drown.

About two weeks after the trip, I was in quiet time just declaring my need to trust and have faith in God for the job search and other areas of my life. I felt like He was leading me to turn down one offer that wouldn’t serve me the way I needed, and inadvertently, wouldn’t allow me to serve my church and community on Sundays. I became content with that decision because I was confident that I would bag one if not both of the latest interviews I had conducted.

My trust here was slightly displaced: while I trusted Him to provide, I also trusted in myself to secure something. Shoot, I started talking to some of my folks like I had those opportunities in the bag. But, nevertheless, during that time with God, I was realigning myself with God’s faithfulness and surety.

About ten minutes after I was done, I got a random text from a friend I hadn’t had a serious conversation with perhaps in years. I’m sure they weren’t totally up to date with how and where I was in life, but what they shared was absolutely spot on.

I was floored after reading that because it was exactly what I needed and had just prayed for. God was speaking into my situation, ironically telling me to dive deep and in the process, choose to trust Him.

Just a week later, I got back-to-back rejections from the two companies I was so confident that I bagged. Catching those “not selected” stung a lot more than an L on the SNKRS app and had me dejected from wanting to do applications or talk work for some time. But even in those moments, God’s faithfulness and word rang true: He’s got me, no matter what.

Writing this, I’m amused by how consistent my message in most of my letters is: take a leap and trust God. I’m so enamored by this message because it’s what I try to challenge myself to do daily. It’s not the easiest thing to do but I’m confident that it is worth it. And that the Ls I’ve taken in this job search, with that water slide and on the SNKRS app, will soon pay off for my good and for His glory.

I’ve run by this statement for some time, you may be familiar with it: God’s got your back, so if you ever fall, you fall into Him. And I want to, once again, entrust that to you. Everything irie, mon, cause He’s got you.

Lord, keep us. Thanks for being faithful to save and deliver us always. Help us to continue to trust in and depend on you even when we don’t see the way out. In Jesus' name, Amen.

With love,



P.S. Boys definitely signed up for a Swimming Class and is so much more improved than I was in Jamaica. Don’t play with me no more!



These letters are probably a compilation of a variety of focuses. I’m a Sports Writer who loves God, comics, and storytelling.

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Jum Owookade

These letters are probably a compilation of a variety of focuses. I’m a Sports Writer who loves God, comics, and storytelling.