Toes an inch over the dock’s edge, I peered into the murky deep below. Sure, it was only eight feet deep, but it might as well have been a hundred. What was that flash of lightning? A shimmer of scales? A glimmer of pointy teeth? The water was too dark to tell.
“Come on in, Mom!” my eight-year-old daughter called. She stood on the raft about twenty feet ahead of me. My brave girl—the one who fearlessly climbed atop the fridge at eighteen months of age to retrieve goodies I hid there, the one who jumped off this same dock when she was two (much to my horror, when I had to jump in after her, still clad in my jeans).
If my two-year-old could jump in, then certainly I could.
But what about the barracuda?
I’ve always had a fear of fish. I’ll eat them. I’ll keep them (in a fish tank). But swim with them? Hmmm. I know I’m a movie clip waiting to happen. No matter that barracuda are salt water fish and I’m nowhere near an ocean.
So I plunge in, quickly swimming to my daughter on the raft. The raft! It is yellow. It is big. It is safety.
This small bout of fear is representative of my life, and perhaps yours. We can take our chances (imaginary or not), or we can play it safe. We can take a leap of faith, or we stand on the edge, wishing we had played more fully. We can join others on life’s adventure, or we can stay home.
Too many times I’ve stayed home—literally and figuratively. Try out a new business idea? Nah. Too risky. Talk to the funny looking man? He might think I’m weird. Try a new entrée at my favorite restaurant? What if I don’t like it? Then I will have wasted my money. Ask a woman I admire to be my mentor? She might decline. Then won’t I look like a desperate fool.
Yes, it is a dark and scary world; yet there is so much still to be discovered.
What about you?
In what areas of your life do you play it safe? What’s the barracuda that keeps you from taking the leap? And is it real? Or could it be imaginary?
“Wow, Mom!” my smiling girl says. Funny, she didn’t even know I could swim.