The Thing We Fear

Photo by Artem Verbo from Unsplash

I was eight years old, sick, and pitifully scrawny when my parents decided that it was time for me to learn how to swim. I hated the idea. I didn’t like any form of exercise.  But, there wasn’t any way to dissuade them from this idea, and one day I found my self in line to sign up for swimming lessons from the city recreation department. I knew they had a limit to the number of places and I was hoping that the classes would fill before I signed up. No such luck! In fact, as soon as I signed up, the classes were closed. My fate was sealed! 


 I was delighted to learn that my teacher was a man! ( Actually, he was an 18-year-old kid.) We met on the deck of the shallow part of the pool. I assumed that would be the location for our lessons. It was an old indoor swimming pool and to my eight year old eyes, enormous.


Wrong! He motioned to us and we set out to the far distant other end of the pool— the DEEP END! As I trailed behind the rest of the pack, I started looking for a way to escape. There wasn’t any opportunity. It was a long way to the end of the pool ,and I was beginning to have a really bad feeling about this experience. 


When we got to the end of the pool, I realized that this was where the diving boards were. I couldn’t believe it when the teacher pointed to the first student and told him to  get on the board. Then, this unfortunate boy went to the end of the board and jumped .


 By this time, I was totally terrified. The line of students moved incredibly fast until I was next.   The teacher pointed to me and I shakily got up on the board. I went to the end of the board and looked down. I realized that this was probably  the end of my young life and I jumped after the teacher yelled at me. 


I remember hitting the water and going down, down. Tiny green bubbles were all around me. Suddenly a pole appeared and I grabbed onto it. The teacher then pulled me to the edge of the pool. 


I was alive! Not only that. I  loved the experience and couldn’t wait until I did it again. That was the beginning of a love of the water and swimming that has lasted all my life. 
However, I had a problem. My parents were told later by our doctor that swimming might be bad for me since I had a severe case of asthma. Consequently, they ordered me to stop swimming. 


So I had to sneak to the pool and follow my love. I became stronger and eventually joined the swim team. Later I played Water Polo at my university. Swimming became my love and a special part of my life.
What would have happened if I had not made that first jump into the water? My life may well have been different. 


From this experience, I learned a lesson.


 Some times we have to do the thing that we fear and  that may well be a turning point in our lives.

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