Figuratively, I have been jumping out of boats for quite sometime now. Taking chances. Pursuing my dreams. Most often I have no inkling of how it will all turn out. I do however, think about it and try to have a “plan.”
Yesterday, my husband and I were on a snorkeling excursion off the coast of the Dominican Republic. I had premised the adventure by letting my husband know that I might just be staying on the boat. You see, I have never actually jumped off of a real boat much less in the ocean where my feet cannot touch the ground! I do not even like jumping into a swimming pool. Walking in at my leisure is much more my style. I like the water on my terms. I do not particularly like getting my face wet. As a girl who has struggled with asthma, I like breathing air freely and unobstructed!
The time came and the tour guide told everyone that was going to snorkel to line up. I decided to give it a try. There was no time for pause, contemplation, preparation, or prayers. There were too many people behind me – all eagerly wanting to jump into the ocean.
I jumped. The water sucked me under for my version of an eternity. My eyes were open because I can recall seeing the rush of the water around me as I continued to plunge. By the time (a second eternity!) that I returned to the surface all that I could taste was salt and every time I breathed in, it sounded like I had pneumonia or COPD! Loud gurgling. I tried to make myself cough. However, I was panicked! I was in the ocean and my feet could not touch anything!
I saw my husband. He had jumped in behind me. I believe that in my state I might have said or screamed or probably more accurately cried out, “Help me!” He was quickly at my side trying to assist me with my snorkeling gear (which no matter how hard we tried just did not seem to fit). The life preserver that was wrapped around my waist was too big so it crept up around my chest and seemed to have me toppling over face first into the ocean time and time again like a floating duck at the fair. Gulp! More salt water.
The point being I thought I was surely going to die. Another person in our traveling group had the same fears that I had prior to jumping in but seemed to quickly relax and tried to help me do the same. She even offered me the round, orange, donut looking thingy that screamed Baywatch. I had no pride. I held onto that baby! I began to catch my breath.
I looked under the water a few times. The reality that I had in fact jumped into the ocean set in. I could claim success! Victory was mine. Okay, at least I would get a participation trophy! I was DONE. The boat looked really good and after snorkeling they were going to serve drinks. I could use one of those right about now. I began my swim back to the boat with my husband by my side. He made sure that I made it back without incident. I was never so glad to have my feet on solid ground.
Later on the same excursion, we stopped at a natural pool. Ummm… you could walk in and keep your head above water the whole time. Now we are talking. I eagerly climbed off of the boat and into the water. Not too long into being in the water, my legs were surrounded by no less than a dozen fish. Mojo fish! You might wonder what exactly a Mojo fish is. I love animals. All kinds and I was missing my furkids at the moment. Mojo (the much loved, but highly misunderstood Jack Russell terrier) is my permanent shadow at home and follows me wherever I go. Now, it seemed that I had fish doing exactly the same. Mojo fish. I was ecstatic. I tried to reach over to pick one up. The water was so clear! I found that the fish were a little deeper than I had realized and suddenly my face was under water. The tour guide brought me a snorkel and a mask and I stood with my feet touching the ground watching these fish with total childlike enthusiasm. No, it did not bother me one bit that I was the only adult standing in the water with a snorkel and mask! I was also the only adult that had attracted a whole entourage of fish.
The day turned out okay after all. I did not die! My husband was truly more loving and supportive than I can ever recall him being. He did not make fun of me but rather expressed how proud that he was that I actually jumped in.
There are so many lessons that I could highlight from this story. However, the ones that I would like to cling to are that jumping in isn’t easy. You may flail around, feel like you are getting sucked under and fighting for your life. The process may not be glamorous. It may not work out exactly like you planned but in the end it always works out. It is so much more fun to try than to sit on the sidelines. After all, I would not have this story to share if I remained on the boat and you would have never known about Mojo fish!
Until Next Time,