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.
Crashes of thunder. Flashes of lightning. The boat was filling rapidly with water. The sailors were fighting the storm gallantly, but nothing seemed to help. The folks inside took anxious glances towards the rear of the ship. But still He slept. More wind. More thunder. More waves. Finally they couldn't stand it. They ran to the rear of the boat and poured out their hearts. "Don't you hear? Don't you see what we're going through? Why do you remain silent? Why don't you answer? You have promised to save us when we call. Where are you? Don't you care?" To all of these fearful pleadings He said nothing... but to the storm He said, "Be still!" The ordeal was over. And he turned to them, with a tone of voice that was loving and compassionate, said: *****"Why are ye so fearful? How is it ye have no faith?"**** To the day I was afraid: Why are you so fearful? To the day I doubted: How is it you have no faith? Fear & doubt, the two greatest pests of our lives. And He had two questions for those who were standing with Him and were scared and doubting. "Why are you so fearful? How is it you have no faith?" So the next time that finds you afraid....the next day that finds you doubting and wondering where Jesus is. He is there. "Why are you so fearful?" "How is it you have no faith?" Love, M.E. P.S. Read the closing chapters of Mark 4.
I walked far into the dunes.
What is the best therapy for an over-worked, stressed person?
A moonlit walk on the sands, all alone. Or a moonlit walk anywhere in the silence. There’s always a moon shining in the night.
Kinda helps you think things through…clear things out of your mind that are there but don’t need to be.
Kinda puts everything at rest.
Why? Because at last you are surrounded by some orderliness.
Not a wisp of wind…yet everything moves like clockwork, all around you, as it should.
“When I consider thy heavens… the moon…what is man, that thou art mindful of him?”
How is it, that with all this beauty, God still made us? Knowing we would break the orderliness that His glorious sun and moon would never break?
If you have an answer for that please get back with me.
P.S. Imagine a king looking into a sky full of stars, and a bright moon, and pondering these same words. Read them in Psalm 8.
P.S.S. And yes, like I suggested yesterday, there were kabobs in the evening, the smell drifting from the grill.
First glimpse of the dunes.
Looks like folks have been there already. I can see their footprints.
We all leave footprints in the sands of our lives.
Climbing these dunes is not easy.
It’s not easy, but I know it’s possible. It’s possible because I can see footprints in the sand left by somebody else who tried.
We may be struggling and straining to make it up to the top, but we can look across the way and see someone else who has struggled up the same hill…
And made it.
That is inspiration.
These are the people who leave footprints on our hearts. Footprints in our lives.
And we are never the same again.
We can know that we can make it to the top because we can see their footprints rising over the hill…and going beyond.
You will never walk alone.
Love to each of you,
(P.S. You may be wondering, what’s up with M.E.’s folks at the moment? Well, these dunes are so popular, it looks like we’ll be coming back tomorrow. How does grilling kabobs out on the dunes sound? The silence, the sunset, the smell of barbequeing kabobs wafting into the air….silence and peace and rest from the cares of life.)
Around here that is a major accomplishment not to be taken lightly. How about shooting off some fireworks?
Want to take a peek out of the car window yesterday evening?
Look at the colors in that sky. Wow! (Reminder: After every sunset comes a sunrise.)
This is what I saw when I walked outside today.
Have I told you I LOVE the mountains?
The mountains rise majestically into the sky, solid as rock, powerful, immovable, full of steady strength, the kind of supernatural strength that is uncommon today.
Nothing can move them. They are there to stay.
The kind of strength that gives us comfort.
As humans, we are unfamiliar with that kind of steady dedication.
But as humans, we crave it.
Be a mountain in someone else’s life. And by that, I mean, be strong and be dependable. Be the person someone else can trust to always be there beyond a shadow of doubt. There just might be someone who is counting on you.
Be the person someone else can feel safe with.
There might be someone who is hurting deeply, who is worse than depressed, and you can give them a reason to continue believing in humanity.
There might be somebody who needs to hold onto you because you are the only rock left in their life.
To them, you are a mighty mountain of supernatural strength.
Hold onto them. Now. Give them a reason to believe.
Give them a reason to hope.
You may not ever know what lives you may have saved or changed, simply by living your life every day as a strong steady person in whom others can believe.
There’s scenery behind me, like you wouldn’t believe.
Actually, if you were here, you would probably be telling me I’m looking in the wrong direction. We’ll head on out that way tomorrow.
I’ll leave you in suspense.
Meanwhile, I’ll get some rest.
a very exhausted M.E.
P.S. Is it any wonder that David once wrote, ”Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.” He wrote that about his God. It is a comforting thought.
Have you ever had to do something that you just did not want to do?
Your hands are sweaty.
Your voice is shaking. You take deep, heavy breaths.
You don’t eat lunch because you are afraid it won’t stay in your stomach for long.
You long for the delightful moment that comes once you’ve finished the dreaded moment.
Symptoms of nervousness.
That was me, last weekend.
I was dreading an event like you wouldn’t believe. In my field, it is unfortunately a requirement to graduate.
You just know that everything that could possibly go wrong in the world will happen in that one single moment.
Even though hundreds of others have accomplished it before you, and they were all standing in their shoes at one moment, shaking in their shoes just like you. And they survived!
So I sat down, and wrote a little note to myself.
That’s how I usually cope with the dread that is churning in my stomach.
(That, and a lot of prayer.)
The first sentence of the letter I read back to myself wasn’t very classy, but those were my thoughts at the moment.
If they don’t like it, then that really sucks for them. Why wouldn’t they like it? These are people who love me. They want me to do my best. So I will do my best for them. And that’s the best I can do. And if it’s not perfect, then well–it’s not perfect. But it was still good.”
(Welcome to the world of my thought process!)
“It was still good.” Yes, that is the part I always forget.
After all, why are we nervous…afraid of the mistakes we might make?
We’re humans after all, so we won’t be perfect, but as long as we prepare and practice to do our best, we have to let what happens happen. We have to let go and let all of that practice kick in. Then when we make a mistake, we have to throw it aside and move on.
You see, it’s not the mistake that matters, it’s how you respond after the mistake that really matters.
Ah-but here’s a little secret about me–I have a secret discontentment with being imperfect. One little mistake…and I think the world has come to an end.
Well, it hasn’t.
One thing I really drew strength from was the story of Joseph. (Yes, that’s why I wrote about Joseph.)
Joseph, who executed everything he did with a strength that seemed supernatural.
Who wasn’t afraid to stand up and present himself in his own way, and thought of others but could care less what others thought of him so long as he was doing the right thing and knew he was doing it well.
So when I walked out into the applause that night, I walked in the strength of my God.
I may not be perfect, but I was still good. And that was enough!
I’m afraid the person presenting the event with me was more nervous than I was.
Even though that person was so kindly more worried about me.
I was humbled. Here I was pacing the floor, worried about something I am not new too, and my rookie assistant who is heaving his own sighs is telling me,
“You‘ll do fine.”
What a reminder to always put YOU first in my life, not me.
A common cliche, everyone always says it. Still, the words were music to my ears. They gave me a sudden boost of confidence.
You see, everyone has a time in their life when they are nervous. We’re humans and it just happens. Admit it. Tell yourself, I will be nervous, BUT I know what I’m doing. It helped me to have a teacher look me in the eye and say, Nervous? Of course you’ll be. Everybody is. That’s just part of it.
We all survive. Fast forward ten years from now…after meeting Love of my Life…wedding bells, maybe a crib in the back bedroom…
Yeah, honey, remember that time you had to give a speech for that meeting? We were doing all that fine dining right before and you had to keep excusing yourself to run back to the restroom…?
What are the best words I heard on that night?
“You’ll do fine!”
A hug, a reassuring squeeze.
These people believed in me.
Dear you, You will be fine! Face whatever you’re facing with confidence! Walk in strength! Focus on doing your best! And if you don’t do it perfect, well then,
You didn’t do it perfect–but it was still good!
Nothing can be better than that!
And I did do just fine. Still, I’m glad it is over.
Sigh of relief. Ahhhh…