My husband loves to SCUBA dive-it is truly one of his passions. He often teases that my willingness to become certified was a condition of marriage. I completed my certification at Crystal River in Florida not long after we started dating. It was an inland venue and though the manatees were quite awesome, the water was cold and the fish were—well—rather unattractive. It was at this point I informed my husband that if he intended for me to continue this diving business he would have to take me somewhere with warm water and pretty fish.
Fast forward two years and we sign up for two dives on our cruise through the Caribbean this past week. The closer the time came to dive, the more apprehensive I became. It had been over two years since my last dive. What if I forgot my training? What if I made a fool of myself, or worse one of Kent? What if something went terribly wrong and I didn’t know what to do? It was unmistakably clear: FEAR had its grip on me and was reluctant to let go. What “fear” failed to realize is that I am just obstinate enough to fight it. I understood it wasn’t necessary for me to be courageous—as much as it was to appear courageous.
Aboard the dive boat appearing to be calm, cool and collected, I donned my BC, regulator and tank. I strapped on what I thought to be enough weight to take me to the appropriate level to begin the dive. Hoping it would be like riding a bicycle; I jumped in with enough partial confidence to get wet. There were two impending roadblocks: #1. I wasn’t descending (not enough weight) and #2. I couldn’t clear my ears. After reaching 50 feet or so (only by pulling myself down a tow and feeling my ears push so hard into my brain that I was sure brain matter was oozing from my ears), it was apparent the dive would have to be called. I was disappointed in myself compounded with guilt that Kent would be unable to continue this dive (dive buddies stay together no matter what-at least the good ones do). When we finally reached the dive boat, shed our gear, and wiped the blood from my nose; I sat pensively.
When I am disappointed in myself—which is far too often—I need time to contemplate, hash over in my mind what happened and seek resolution. It was the encouragement of my dive buddy and that of the dive master that finally broke my reverie assuring me many folks have to call dives for similar issues. I wasn’t a failure; I just needed to regroup and give it another shot.
I have never been known to run from adversity. I do; however, tend to step back, regroup, and even distance myself. Not this time. If I was going to continue to be a SCUBA diver, I HAD to go on the next dive. I had to overcome the fear and press on.
Guided by the dive master, I added several more pounds to my weight belt. Stepping off the back of the boat with cautious confidence—down I went, gently clearing my ears with each breath. I was diving—success—at last.
Isn’t this how life’s difficulties can be at times? We intend meet them head on, but without much forethought or preparation expecting everything to go off without a hitch. We dismiss the importance of reviewing what we already know, accepting the wisdom and encouragement from friends and most of all we tend to press on without the “life Master”.
How much easier it is to navigate difficulties when we fully consider the wisdom of our past, embrace the support of those who have already walked the journey, but most of all pursue God’s leading in our circumstance. That’s when we triumph over adversity. That’s when we realize life is not about us. That’s when our reward is crystal clear, blue water and pretty fish.
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