I met a lady the other day who went on a snorkeling tour with Woodwind Cruises in Bonaire when she couldn’t swim. Why the heck would she do such a thing? Who would want to go on an ocean, snorkeling tour when they couldn’t swim? Someone in love. This lady, a beautiful, young, vibrant woman, was in love with a handsome, but older, man who obviously adored her. They kissed and caressed each other on the sailboat like two teenagers. (Not in an annoying, “stop it” way, but in a jealous, romantic, playful way that all woman desire.) When I asked her if she was excited to snorkel, she said, “I’m nervous because I can’t swim very well.” I immediately judged, like others who judge me for traveling or not traveling with a toddler, and wondered what the heck she was doing on the boat. She continued, “My partner loves to be in the ocean and always wanted to visit Bonaire. It was time I did it to see his precious smile and bring him joy.” I almost started to cry and I understood why someone would go on an ocean snorkel tour when they can’t swim. Love changes us and makes us powerful, courageous, and fearless.
At the first stop, of three, she tried to get in the water and panicked. She stiffened up like a child terrified of the dark and within five minutes, she was back on the boat. Her partner comforted her and continued on with his adventure. He snorkeled and gave her time to think about her experience.
I didn’t ask her about it until I got back on the boat 40 minutes later. I was off enjoying the fish, the water, and the turtles while she was shaking with fear on the boat. It’s bizarre what terrifies one and excites someone else.
When I returned, she said that she was just too scared. She couldn’t move; couldn’t breathe; couldn’t remember the basics like blinking. Dee, the instructor, was extremely comforting and asked her to try again. She offered her flotation devices, a wetsuit, and her hand. (From experience, I know that a hand is greater than anything else. I had deep fears of sharks while in Fiji and the guide’s hand was all that got me in the water.)
She tried again on the last snorkeling experience and loved every second of it. Although fear was always in the back of her mind, Dee guided her, encouraged her, and led her to success. She stayed in the water for the full time and was one of the last people to get back in the boat.
I felt a wave of emotions for her and cheered when she sat next to me. She had accomplished something great. She had done something few people rarely do, overcome a fear.
I asked her if she’d try again and she said, “Yes, it’s scary but I’d jump in again and again for him. We’re always jumping in for each other.” She looked at her partner and he grabbed a piece of her chicken and said, “I love you too, darling.”
It was written – love is greater than fear.