Thursday, April 23, 2009
When I was five or six, my mother took my sister and I to the indoor community pool to learn how to swim. Through the course of the summer, my class was in the shallow end, but, in order to pass to the next level, we each had to eventually jump off the diving board in the deep end. Not the diving board hovering a few feet above the water, but the skyscraper board that made people look so small when they stood on it. I was petrified, and froze standing up so high above the abyss. The teacher paddling below who was to catch me seemed unperturbed by the deep waters. After holding up the class for several minutes, another teacher on the board lightly pushed me off, without consent. As I crashed into the water, I felt the punishing slap against my whole body, gasped, and took a torrent into my lungs. When I was five or six, I thought I would die.
Sometimes life gives us a nudge from which we can learn and grow. Other times we're given a push. And sometimes you're downright kicked. All you can do is cough it out, sputter, and try to pick up the pieces. I never jumped off a high dive again. And that's just fine with me.