You just felt that same feeling that coursed through Charles Lindop as he turned from surfing on the waters of Avalon beach.
It was incomprehensible. My brain couldn’t process the images my eyes were seeing. It was almost like having an out-of-body experience.
You turn. There’s your 15 year old son. Surfing on the waters of Sydney?
In the jaws of a massive white shark.
You know, Jaws.
The thing is as tall as you. Massive. Grinning its horrible white teeth as it sinks them into his leg. He hasn’t eaten all day, and he’s going for his meal.
It’s fierce. Terrible. Horrendous.
All of the horrible words in the world wrapped into one.
Suddenly you are frozen to your spot. A second becomes a day. Your mouth is clammy. Your muscles taut. Are your eyes serious? Are you hallucinating?
And suddenly all you are thinking is that the 5000 lb creature had better let go of your son.
I bet those cowboys who go in there and ride a 2000 lb bull would tell you they’d never want to tackle a 5000 lb shark.
You turn into the waters. Why don’t you run away? You can’t win the local swimming competition to save your life.
But you could win to save your son’s. It’s the fastest 75 meters you have ever paddled.
Is it adrenaline? Is it human instinct? Is it the love of a parent? Is it the grotesque daring of the horrible white monster?
What causes a hero to be born at that moment?
I don’t know, but I wonder. What do you think? What makes a man, a woman, or a child turn into the danger to face it, fight it, and triumph over it instead of away from it?
Is your heart thumping in your ribs? Sure it’s thumping. Is your mind racing? Sure, you can’t even form a thought if you tried. Are you afraid? Sure you’re afraid. But you’re not so afraid that you can’t turn right into those waters and wrestle your son from the jaws of a shark.
At that moment something else becomes more important than your fear.
That’s when courage is born.
That beautiful morning that Charles Lindop took his teenage son Andrew for the adventure of surfing, he never dreamed what was in store for him.
Richard Peltier is another father who fought to save his son David from the jaws of a shark. He thrust his right hand into the shark’s mouth. He tried to punch the shark’s mouth open. It was human vs. monster. Finally he smacked the shark in the eye. That’s when the shark gave up the fight. After his son died from the injuries, he sobbed, “I didn’t do enough.” A witness said he had done everything he could.
Richard Peltier is a hero.
Charles Lindop is a hero too. His story has a happy ending. After 4 hr surgery and 9 days in the hospital, Andrew’s ready to go back into the water.
At some point, you have faced fear in your life. I have. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure….Perhaps you are even facing it now.
Your heart pounds. The shirt you are wearing is dripping with sweat. Your forehead tightens. Your eyes are glued in terror.
Did you rise above that? Did you say “I can”?
When fear met you, was courage born?
Dear You, that is when you triumphed.
Don’t be afraid. A friend of mine used to say to me over and over, “Let not your heart be troubled, don’t let it be afraid.”
Now I say to you, ”Don’t let your heart be troubled.”
You can look fear in the eye and say “I Can, but You Can’t.”
You are strong. You can be courageous.
P.S. Answers to Who Said So? 1. Mother Theresa 2. Nelson Mandela 3. Wayne Gretzky Canadian hockey player 4. Will Rogers 5. Vince Lombardi 6. Mahatma Ghandi 7. Billie Jean King American female tennis player 8. Winston Churchill 9. Yogi Berra NY Yankee Baseball 10. If you just could not figure this one out, don’t worry, I couldn’t either. Why? We don’t know who wrote it. :) The answer is: Unknown.
She was a beautiful women, young, blonde, full of inward strength, glowing with smiles.
He knew she was. Gazing into her deep blue eyes, the Sheriff’s deputy knew that.
He knew other things about her as well.
She never gave up hope. In the face of adversity, she squared her shoulders, held up her head high, and headed into the coming storm.
She believed. She believed in miracles. She believed in life. She believed in love.
This was the moment for which he had always dreamed.
Gazing up at her Prince Charming with adoring eyes, she knew there was not another man like him in the world.
When adversity would come, he would be right beside her, every step of the way.
She remembered the hours he had spent in a chair across the room from her, unable to come near, just so he could be near her.
She had heard that love “never fails,” but she knew it now.
She had heard that love “never measures, it just gives.”
She knew that for sure.
He had spent the last years, giving and giving and giving to her, when other men would have up and left, unable to cope with it.
He was in this, for better or worse.
Whether five days or twenty years, he was in this for good.
She closed her eyes and allowed herself to take it all in.
He held her close to him as if afraid he might lose her. But he couldn’t lose her, could he? Not now, at the beginning of this amazing journey together? With all the dreams they had laid up for the future?
He thought how proud he was that she had made up the aisle it to him tonight without an oxygen tank.
…the oxygen tank.
And she was starting to lean against him, closer and closer, sag more into his strong arms, because she was oh, so tired.
And in pain.
Such intense pain that she hid under her smiles…this graceful former high school homecoming queen…
You see, this is a twenty-first century romance.
Ten years ago, on Valentine’s day, our heroine found out that she had a malignant brain tumor.
She was only eighteen.
Nevertheless, she persevered.
Her former high school sweetheart, from whom she had separated, unaware of her condition, sent her a Valentine’s day note. He figured out that he would try to win her back, one more time.
Only Katie didn’t answer…her dad did. With some disturbing news.
He drove down to see her immediately…something made him want to be with her…something made him know that this woman was someone he wanted to spend his life with.
The operation to remove the tumor was a success.
For a while, it seemed that things might be alright. The relationship flourished, the cancer was gone.
Only the cancer returned, and it was inoperable. It was reaching her heart.
But there was something that the tumor could not beat…
the cancer could not kill…
She gave of herself selflessly to everyone around her…and especially to the love of her life.
And her sweetheart gave of himself to those around her…and especially to her.
He sat across the room from her for hours, while she lay, suffering under intense Chemo treatments.
They talked about their dreams…about the children they hoped to have.
She dreamed of being a high school counselor or a girls basketball coach.
He proposed to her out by the old lighthouse.
She comforted those around her and held onto hope.
Her hairdresser hesitated when she realized she had to cut off the beautiful blond locks. Katie leaned forward, laying her hand on the hairdresser’s arm, and said, “It’s okay.”
It changed her hairdresser’s life. It was an inspiration.
Five days after her wedding, Katie left this world.
She left it touched by her amazing love.
Are there words that can describe that picture?
You see, love is an amazing thing.
It cannot die.
Nothing can touch it.
There is nothing so powerful in the world as love. And Katie and Nick knew that.
That’s why we celebrate Valentine’s day, to celebrate something that has no limit.
On February 14th, we celebrated one of the single most wonderful things in the world.
Tomorrow we can celebrate it again. There is no limit to love.
Let’s celebrate Valentine’s day everyday, just like Katie and Nick did.
They are an inspiration to us all.
“Life is a fragile chain of experiences held together by love. If there could be only one thing in life to learn, it would be to learn to love.
There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer, no door that enough love will not open, no gulf that enough love will not bridge and no sin that enough love will not redeem. It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, how hopeless the outlook or how great the mistake, sufficient realization of love will resolve it all…
If only you can love enough, you will be the happiest and most powerful person in the world“–Katie Kirkpatrick-Godwin’s valedictorian speech
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Have been reading Joseph.
He was the unpopular younger brother. The best looking in the family. His father’s favorite. The dreamer of dreams in which he was the recipient of family homage. His ten brothers were eaten with jealousy. They had nothing good to say to him.
They threw him in a pit to die. Then they sold him to be a slave.
He was taken to Egypt, the metropolis of the world at the time.
And a heathen place to live.
And Joseph was only seventeen.
He was made a slave of the influential Potipher. He was so good and capable, that he was made second in command.
He was all alone in the worship of his God.
He faced the greatest of all temptations for a young man and said NO.
The woman went after him day after day.
And still he said NO.
Potipher’s wife raged at her unsuccess. She made Joseph pay for his refusal.
He could have saved his reputation, but instead he saved his character.
He was thrown in prison. While in prison he stayed busy serving the prisoners.
He interpreted correctly the dream of a prisoner who then went to live a life of prosperity while he stayed trapped down in prison.
Instead of sitting down and asking “why?” he stays busy with what needs to be done.
In the palace, Pharoah dreams two dreams that trouble him. Suddenly the baker remembers, “Oh yeah, remember that one guy who interpreted my dream?” He informs the Pharoah, who promptly sends for Joseph.
Joseph is down in the dungeon, taking care of the prisoners, making himself useful, never dreaming that up above, God is playing out his miraculous plan.
The prison doors creak open. The heavy tread of the guards echo along the dark tunnels. The Pharoah wants Joseph.
And Joseph is ready for destiny.
Before the Pharoah ever tells him his dreams, Joseph lets him know who is really in charge here. His God.
Joseph interprets the dreams, but he doesn’t just stop there. He also has a plan full of good, common sense on how the Pharoah should take care of the horrible famine that is looming ahead.
The Pharoah puts him in charge. Wow! Wherever this guy is, he always seems to be put in charge!
Joseph sets about executing his mastermind of a plan. There’s a wedding as well. The Pharoah suggests that he marry the chief priest’s daughter. Before the famine begins the two are the proud parents of two boys. I’m pretty sure this guy made a pretty good husband!
The famine spreads. Everywhere there is hunger. Except Egypt, a land bursting with plenty, saved under the careful, protecting hand of Zaphnath-paaneah, alias Joseph.
The famine reaches every corner of the world. One day, ten men-guant, skinny from hunger, tired, dusty, weary from traveling- enter the city gates and stand in line to beg food from the great second-in-command of the Pharoah.
They crouch down, begging humbly that they could have food for their starving wives and children.
And Joseph looks into the faces of ten men who once sold him to be a slave. His brothers.
At that moment, he was the second most powerful man in the world.
Imagine if you were in Joseph’s shoes. What would you do?
They don’t know him, but he knows them. He wonders what they are like now. So he tests them, to see if they have changed. He handles it in typical Joseph-like fashion.
These are ten very different men from the ten who threw him inside the deep, dark, pit and ignored his cries for help. They respond differently. Long lives have been filled with lessons that they have learned, the hard way.
Joseph tries them until he can handle it no longer.
He announces, “I am Joseph!”
Can you imagine the reaction in that room to that announcement?
They were afraid. They should have been.
Can you imagine their feelings as they approach their father’s tent? Oh what news do they have to tell! News that no sane person would be crazy enough to believe.
News that they had to provide proof for before their father would ever believe them.
Joseph has forgiven them. He will protect them, as he is protecting everyone else. They will be safe with him. They pack up and move to the foreign land of Egypt.
Wherever Joseph is everyone rallies around him like he’s a rock.
Because he is. He is strong, and steady. You can trust him like you can nobody else.
He lives a life that everyone knows is powered by his mighty God.
And it began when he was only seventeen.
I started thinking,
********”How many of us today, could do what Joseph did?”*****************
Just a thought…
P.S. If you can’t read anything else this week, read Genesis 39 through Genesis 41. This is the story of Joseph, from pit to power, who believed with all his heart that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro about the earth, seeking a man whose heart is perfect towards Him.” You will be inspired.