Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Shark Week

It is Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.  I sometimes think that my high school guidance counselor must have neglected an entire section of jobs when I see shark wranglers, adventure photographers and the like.  What struck me most about the episode I watched last night is the exhilaration demonstrated by those that sink down into the ocean with “nature’s perfect killing machine.”   It is not that they are insane, lacking any self-protective instinct.  It is that they push right into their fear and experience what most only imagine. 

It is easy to justify avoiding the razor-sharp teeth of a Great White.  Far too often, though, fear keeps me from dipping my toe into waters of all sorts.   Specifically, I don’t risk saying the words that I think.  Of course, there are words better left unsaid.  But, I know I have thought many more compliments than I have ever spoken.  Who knows what those little word-gifts could have accomplished in the lives of the hearer?

When my daughter was very young, I got into a habit of calling her a “problem-solver”.   She was very industrious.   In one particular interaction with her Nana H, I heard her reply to an offer of assistance with, “No, I can do it.  I am a problem-solver.”   Now, a few days from fifteen, she finds pleasure in Algebra (sick, I know).   It took a lot of hard work and discipline on her part, but I really think my words mattered. 

Fears of being misunderstood, mistaken, and misquoted have silenced me countless times, but the exhilaration that comes from really touching someone’s heart far outweighs the risk.  That said, I am going to say more of the good things I think.  Maybe you should too.  After all, it is not like swimming with sharks.

Will, class of 2000

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