Diving is one of my favorite things in the world to do. There’s something so incredible about being able to exist calmly in an atmosphere that’s not our own. I’m generally a pretty free spirit down there. I love to float around and just take it all in, but this week oddly, I’ve been noticing something unusual.
Fish seem very fearful.
Even though these fish are used to divers hanging out with them, they tend to be timid and afraid. Whether it’s a big grouper that swims away, unless there is food involved, or a tiny yellow jackfish, that disappears into the sand at the sight of you drawing near, many fish tend to back up, take cover and hide, barely peering out around the coral until they’re sure you’ve passed by.
And rightly so.
We are bigger and stronger than they are. And we often eat them for dinner.
But on this trip, we’ve had the joy of swimming along with a nurse shark, who was not afraid of us. She swam right up to us, as if she was looking for a friend. She’d meander right alongside me, letting her fin brush up against me. She wasn’t afraid.
And neither was I.
But yesterday, just before our dive, I got some news from home that made me fearful. . . No, more like terrified. The news is not mine to share, but it tore into my heart like a dagger and I’m helpless to do anything about it. I hit my knees on the side of my bed and pled with God through my sobbing. When I finally got up from my bedside puddle of tears, it was time to rush out the door to the dive shop. With my eyes swollen and red, I donned my gear and we dove in.
The absence of words, with only the sound of the water, was deafening to my heart.
It was the first time the salt in my mask has ever been from my tears. As I floated around with my heavy heart, I noticed those terrified fish. And I identified with them. In that moment, I felt as helpless and terrified as they were. I wanted to bury my head in the sand until I knew it was safe to come out, too.
Then I looked beyond them.
There was so much beauty they were missing because they were hiding. They were missing the beautiful ocean. They were missing the potential for food and nourishment. They were missing the light because they were hiding in the dark.
They were missing a potential belly rub.
So right there, in that moment, in the vast blue ocean, I took one long, deep breath. And then another one. As I released those bubbles, I intentionally released fear. I sang the verses of an old hymn in my head, that my Dad and I used to sing standing by the ocean, relinquishing trust to God.
I faced off with fear.
I saw the fear for what it was and called it out. I don’t know what the future holds in this situation, but I know I won’t bury my head in fear. I’m going to claim beauty. I’m going to hold up a light, even if it’s through my tears.
I’m going to fight, together with those involved.
What about you?
What fear do you need to face off with today?
There is so much in this world that can cause you to fear. But there is so much beauty you’ll miss if you keep hiding. The light and nourishment you need can only be found when you gather the courage to come out and face it.
You never know, you might even find a belly rub or two.
Come out and face fear with me today, will ya?
No one can do it alone, but as long as we come out in the light, we can do it together.
to more love,