I know how to swim. I love swimming in the sea. But I am not a confident swimmer and the ocean frightens me a little!
I blame the movie ‘Jaws’ which I saw as an impressionable thirteen-year-old! As soon as I get out of my depth in the ocean all I can hear is – da-da; da-da; da-da, da-da, da-da!
A couple of years back I visited Esperance for the first time. Wow! We went to Twilight Bay on a 35-degree day and it was just as the tourist site had described it “impossibly white sand meeting unbelievably clear turquoise water creating a beautiful vista and perfect swimming conditions” - I couldn’t wait to take a swim.
About 100 metres off shore there is huge rounded granite rock rising up out of the water. I really wanted to swim out to the rock with my family but that would mean a lot of swimming out of my depth with the Jaws theme music ringing in my head!
My husband, said he’d help me and so we set off. It was hard to keep my fear in check but Hadyn kept making conversation which focused me on our beautiful surroundings and the activity of others in the water; from time to time he told me how well I was doing and how close we were to the rock. He stayed close but not too close - I guess in case I really panicked and grabbed him!
It was a pretty cool feeling to make it to the rock but my fear mounted again as it was time to get back into the water for the return swim.
Turns out the swim to shore was a lot easier because we noticed other swimmers taking a different route than the one we had come by and within about 30 metres I was in water I could stand in!
I’d actually put myself through a whole pile of angst I could have avoided if I’d noticed the shallower route earlier.
But you know I am glad I didn’t take the easier route.
I did something I was very afraid of doing
I did it in the company of someone I trust and who loves me
The fear didn’t go away but I did it anyway
And it felt good – really good
The swim reminded me that fear need not define me or my actions as long as I can face the frightening situation with someone I can trust; someone who loves me.
The poet who wrote Psalm 56 knew this.
But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you (God).
What frightens you?
Who can you trust to help you so that the fear does not define your actions?