Monday, February 27, 2006

Swimming with Sharks

Back in November I went on a trip to the Carribean with two of my sisters and my dad. As a part of the trip we went on a snorkling excursion. We went snorkling through areas that had a great deal of corral. We saw some amazing sites and a great variety of fish. The colors of the fish and the corral was spectacular. The water was crystal clear. Just a wonderful time. At the end of the snorkling trip there was time allotted to get in the water with some sharks. The title of this article is swimming with sharks. This is not exactly accurate. Anyone who has experienced a trip like this knows that swimming with sharks is far more involved than snorkling with sharks. So, we were actually scheduled to "Snorkel" with the sharks. I promised everybody I would NOT! be doing this part of the trip. After all, you would have to be crazy to get in the water with sharks! (On purpose at that)

Well, when we got there I did not hesitate. For some unknown reason I got right in. This was after looking over the side of the boat and seeing the water TEAMING with sharks! I mean there must have been 50+. They were all sizes and looked every bit as menacing as you would expect. I don't know what came over me, I just got in without any hesitation. My sisters and my dad were looking all over the boat trying to find me. They thought I ran and hid. To their surprise, I was already in the water and about 30 yards away from the boat.

The sharks were initially very safely below us at a bait box. We lay in the water watching them swim below us. After a few minutes the bait box emptied and the sharks began to swim up near us. They kept getting closer and closer. Eventually close enough to touch. It was very thrilling! The biggest problem is that when you are the first in the water, you are the last out. This is because you are required to hold onto a rope in the water. You are teathered in a sense. I never really felt any fear. I actually had a shark swim right under my belly and graze against me. That didn't even scare me.

The one thing that did scare me was when I got back to the boat I had to let go of the rope and go a few feet without the rope to get to the ladder. I am only talking maybe 5 or 6 feet. That terrified me! The 1/2 inch thick piece of nylon had become my security blanket in shark infested waters. To me that is fascinating. There are so many lessons I learned in that 15 minutes of being in the water with sharks, but the one thing that stands out most, is how we can settle into a false sense of security. A shark touching me did not scare me, but letting go of my security terrified me. I realize now I have done that alot in life. I hold onto security. I do not take the risk to "swim a few feet" for something better.

I would have been very happy to stay in the water until someone else came to my rescue. I did not sense the danger of sharks beginning to graze me. I just knew I did not want to let go of the rope and swim a few feet for a better situation. I now realize I have done that in just about every aspect of my life. My family, my career, my possessions. Have you ever done that? I do it more than I care to admit.

Do you have lessons on letting go of security to search for something better? If so, would you please share them?

No comments: