“Have you checked the tanks?” she said, concerned about what lay ahead.
“Of course I have”, he replied, losing patience rapidly. “Are you committed to this or not?”
She wasn’t sure if she was committed to going under at all. She had spent all her life swimming on the surface and the challenge of going deep was making her nervous. As she prepared her equipment, she thought about her brothers and sisters. She thought about her friends and work colleagues. And she realised just how little she knew about them.
She looked at him for more reassurance, and he seemed too wrapped up in checking his dials to care about her. But she was terrified. She wanted to go deep but had never been there before. Her friends came to mind again and whilst she didn’t understand the connection, she knew there was a link. She realised that she wanted to know more about her friends, but that she only knew what existed along the surface. She knew nothing about what lay beneath the surface of their lives.
“Come on” he called. “Time to dive”.
And within a moment, he had rolled over the edge of the boat, and was swimming down through the water. She took a deep breath and rolled over the edge of the boat too.
The water was cold through her wetsuit but as she kicked hard, she soon began to go deeper into the water. The noise from the surface began to diminish and the light began to fade. Silence started to engulf her and her body felt closer to the world around her. She could hear her own breath within her mask and the world seemed to come to a halt. It was beautiful.
Fish swam towards her as if she wasn’t there. They were comfortable in their surroundings and accepted her into their world without question.
As she swam with her partner, she realised the beauty that lay within the deep water. She also realised that her fear to come deep had almost stopped her from discovering this new world.
After a short while, her partner pointed to the surface and they returned smoothly to gasp fresh air.
“So what did you think?” he asked?
She thought for a moment about her response.
He smiled. “Sometimes we have to go deeper than the surface to find reality. It can be scary to leave the surface and swim down but every time we do, we find a richness and beauty that can only be found in the depths”.
She knew he was right and thought once again of her friends and family. She realised that she only knew them on the surface. Their discussions, conversations, meetings and gatherings only ever involved surface level pleasantries. In that moment, she vowed to go deeper and take a real interest in their lives. And she knew that in the depths of those relationships, and beyond the fear of going deeper, was a beauty that could only ever be seen in the silence and stillness of the depths.
“Thanks for taking me deeper today” she said to her partner. “Swimming on the surface was easy and going deeper was scary, but I know that I had to accept the fear of the deep to discover the joy of the swim”.
And she vowed to never fear going deep again….
So often in life, we avoid going deeper into our friendships, business relationships and family issues for fear of what the depths will uncover. We often exist on the surface and never discover the beauty that lies beyond the fear. Beyond the surface of “how are you?” is the depths of “who are you?”
Swim deeper. And discover the world of the scuba diver….