How envious I was of the people who could! Not only strong men and women, but even children and the elderly seemed to enjoy it so much and feel so at ease in it, whereas I was standing on the side gripped by fear. We all have our fears, some open and some of a more secret nature. I’m not afraid to speak in front of people or climb mountains. But for 20 years, I’d lived in a beautiful and popular holiday location on the coast—and I was afraid of the sea! Specifically, I was afraid of being out of my depth in the water.
But one year, things changed.
In the spring, my prayer was that I could overcome my fear of the sea. I had “preached” a lot of sermons to others about overcoming fears, and that it’s never too late to learn something new, so it was time for me to put my own words into practice.
At the beginning of summer, I practiced treading water in a swimming pool. That was a victory, and I thought I was ready to face the sea, but it wasn’t quite so simple. I stood on the beach for a long time, watching that beautiful blue mass of water and again felt that fear paralyzing my legs.
I returned a few days later, and the same thing happened. The sea wasn’t like the swimming pool! But eventually, I listened to my husband’s invitation to follow him out a little at a time.
Finally, my feet couldn’t touch the bottom and it was an exhilarating feeling, finally letting go of the shore! Tears were streaming down my face, and I was overwhelmed by the same emotion as when I won some big prize as a child.
Needless to say, this experience taught me some invaluable lessons:
- “There is no fear in love.” I had to dig deep to find love for the sea. I thought I liked it enough to begin with, but there had to be more to it than that—I had to enjoy it and delight in it.
- “Let go and let God.” I’d heard that quote so many times, but learning to tread water really brought it to life. The more I let go and relaxed, the easier it got.
- “It’s never too late to learn something new.” You have to find and admit your limits, but you also need to keep moving and progressing.