I’ve always been a firm believer in feeling my way through life. If I see water that is pretty and blue and looks warm and inviting, I leap right in – why spend time discussing the water, and the weather, and the merits of jumping into anything? Jump in and see what the water is actually like. This makes life interesting, if nothing else.
I’m very passionate about what happens to me and even though I choose to immerse myself in life, I understand the dangers. I know up front that I will suffer from a full complement of emotions based upon my decisions – from the unbelievable weightlessness and inner-core warmth the perfect pool can provide, to the bone-chilling cold suffocation of a dive gone terribly wrong.
These two extremes perfect one another, however. You must experience the cold to understand warmth. You must be broken to be mended. You must have lost in order to truly love.
There are many people who sit at the side of the pool, never quite daring to move closer. They lounge in their colorful chairs and discuss inane details of the day and preen in their new suits that are never meant to get wet. I watch them some days. Hell, I AM them some days – but not often. The boredom of sameness overcomes me and I am compelled to venture to the edge of the water and test its nature once again.
Will it be comforting? Will it be unbearable? Will it be encompassing? Will it disappoint?
Will it be my downfall or will it be my utter salvation?
I inevitably brave the depths once again and test my feelings and my ability to swim. The only thing that changes is I begin to tell myself I won’t be lured into thinking all pools that look inviting from the surface actually are. I tell myself not to be disappointed if the experience turns out to be less than I would like. I try to prepare myself for the biting chill of an outdoor pool in earliest Spring, but in reality, as I long for the comfort of water in mid-Summer, my mind never can quite give up the idea that everything this one time will be perfect. I dive in, headfirst, and expect a miracle.
Whether a miracle awaits or not, should I still be diving? If I can’t lounge above the water line, why can’t I at least wade in the shallows? I don’t mean to continue this potentially destructive behavior, but it is in my nature. I have to feel life. The warms and colds are a necessity to being.
Look in the pool. The shades of blue dance in endless patterns just below the surface. Is it warm? Will it hold me in the soft embrace only water can provide? As it turns out, the water below is just as important as the air above.
This I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.