You just felt that same feeling that coursed through Charles Lindop as he turned from surfing on the waters of Avalon beach.
It was incomprehensible. My brain couldn’t process the images my eyes were seeing. It was almost like having an out-of-body experience.
You turn. There’s your 15 year old son. Surfing on the waters of Sydney?
In the jaws of a massive white shark.
You know, Jaws.
The thing is as tall as you. Massive. Grinning its horrible white teeth as it sinks them into his leg. He hasn’t eaten all day, and he’s going for his meal.
It’s fierce. Terrible. Horrendous.
All of the horrible words in the world wrapped into one.
Suddenly you are frozen to your spot. A second becomes a day. Your mouth is clammy. Your muscles taut. Are your eyes serious? Are you hallucinating?
And suddenly all you are thinking is that the 5000 lb creature had better let go of your son.
I bet those cowboys who go in there and ride a 2000 lb bull would tell you they’d never want to tackle a 5000 lb shark.
You turn into the waters. Why don’t you run away? You can’t win the local swimming competition to save your life.
But you could win to save your son’s. It’s the fastest 75 meters you have ever paddled.
Is it adrenaline? Is it human instinct? Is it the love of a parent? Is it the grotesque daring of the horrible white monster?
What causes a hero to be born at that moment?
I don’t know, but I wonder. What do you think? What makes a man, a woman, or a child turn into the danger to face it, fight it, and triumph over it instead of away from it?
Is your heart thumping in your ribs? Sure it’s thumping. Is your mind racing? Sure, you can’t even form a thought if you tried. Are you afraid? Sure you’re afraid. But you’re not so afraid that you can’t turn right into those waters and wrestle your son from the jaws of a shark.
At that moment something else becomes more important than your fear.
That’s when courage is born.
That beautiful morning that Charles Lindop took his teenage son Andrew for the adventure of surfing, he never dreamed what was in store for him.
Richard Peltier is another father who fought to save his son David from the jaws of a shark. He thrust his right hand into the shark’s mouth. He tried to punch the shark’s mouth open. It was human vs. monster. Finally he smacked the shark in the eye. That’s when the shark gave up the fight. After his son died from the injuries, he sobbed, “I didn’t do enough.” A witness said he had done everything he could.
Richard Peltier is a hero.
Charles Lindop is a hero too. His story has a happy ending. After 4 hr surgery and 9 days in the hospital, Andrew’s ready to go back into the water.
At some point, you have faced fear in your life. I have. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure….Perhaps you are even facing it now.
Your heart pounds. The shirt you are wearing is dripping with sweat. Your forehead tightens. Your eyes are glued in terror.
Did you rise above that? Did you say “I can”?
When fear met you, was courage born?
Dear You, that is when you triumphed.
Don’t be afraid. A friend of mine used to say to me over and over, “Let not your heart be troubled, don’t let it be afraid.”
Now I say to you, “Don’t let your heart be troubled.”
You can look fear in the eye and say “I Can, but You Can’t.”
You are strong. You can be courageous.
P.S. Answers to Who Said So? 1. Mother Theresa 2. Nelson Mandela 3. Wayne Gretzky Canadian hockey player 4. Will Rogers 5. Vince Lombardi 6. Mahatma Ghandi 7. Billie Jean King American female tennis player 8. Winston Churchill 9. Yogi Berra NY Yankee Baseball 10. If you just could not figure this one out, don’t worry, I couldn’t either. Why? We don’t know who wrote it. 🙂 The answer is: Unknown.