“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
The Power of Hope
- It awakens us from a deep sleep.
- It achieves the impossible.
- It is worth the effort.
- We grow.
- Experience is always better.
- In hindsight we marvel at what we accomplish.
- Never allow hope to be extinguished.
I remember my shark diving experience at the age of thirty one. My first real job came in 1988. This job changed me and how I viewed the world. My full time work was most vigorous and filled with endless interactions with people from all around the world. Along with an added perk of selling a wide variety of tours to them for a commission. I actually had no appreciation for what I sold. I only loved the benefits that came by way of the extra income. There was no time to dream or even understand what I was selling. Eventually, I seriously examined what I was saying. My mind was drawn to what I was prescribing to others. It was seven years later that I took my first diving course. Then after 5 years of diving, I gained the courage to implement hope into my life.
At the beginning, I believed diving was for the extreme adventurer. Who else would venture deep in the sea where mammoth creatures feed and breed? I admire extreme adventurers, but never thought that I would become one of them. This woman who could barely speak out loud. Diving had never entered my mind. Well, this would change as I finally began to wake up from a purposeful sleep.
The day was slightly overcast. The waters choppy, but we were still headed out to sea. I observed my fellow more experienced divers. These men and women also observed me whilst setting up their gear and logging the dive. They encouraged me as they kept busy. We were all eager to be in the water as the dive boat slapped up and down on the monstrous waves. Standing was a balancing act. It was extremely rough. Yet, our boat captain threw out the anchor after we reached our destination. The speaker boomed with instructions from our guides. This dive was happening.
Everyone geared up quickly. This was my first shark dive experience. I observed everyone, marveling at the ease in which they moved into gear. I fumbled, stumbled and tried to keep from falling over as the boat slapped up and down on the angry sea. I was one of the last to enter into the deep blue sea. Once inside, I felt refreshed. Bobbing about in the sea was better than being tossed about inside the dive boat. Heads disappeared going down, down into the sea. I followed by descending behind them.
I had a buddy and he was ahead of me. Initially it was his fins that I viewed until he moved further ahead of me. I followed but was soon distracted by what approached on my right, left, overhead and underneath my body. Sharks were everywhere. Their eyes followed me. I suddenly realized what I had done. I wanted to run. This was unreal. I kicked my fins and then asked myself, “What the F#@% are you doing?” I stopped kicking and just drifted. What a rush!
The sharks took the lead. I was in Rome, so I did as the Romans did. I was obedient to my environment. The sharks were kind. This was their way of welcoming us. They were long and large, but cordial. I don’t know how long I swam with them, but I moved slower to easily blend in with them. What intelligent creatures. Their eyes pierced deep into mine. I finally registered an expectancy of some kind. They had been waiting for this meeting. I was being escorted. This behavior indicated to me that this experience was not new to them.
On the sea floor, all the other divers had gathered on their knees in a circle. I was one of the last few to join in amongst them. The dive masters were in the center of the circle. We watched as they interacted by touch and caressing the willing sharks. Then they fed them. Sometime later after this entertainment, we disbursed and returned to the boat.
It took me a long time to get there, but I completed my first shark dive. It was exhilarating! I was high for a very long time. This was the beginning of my zest for life. What a way to find it!
Hope is an elixir. Not all potions are concocted in the same way. However you make it, make use of it. I never stop hoping for whatever I need or want. I wish you the same.