Posted 12-19-2004 at 09:47:12
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Life's A Beach
The weather is beautiful.
It is hot and sunny; the water must be cold.
That's what I thought as I looked from my room onto the beach.
I was in Panama City, Florida. I was on vacation. I took three days to get away alone and rest. The ocean is always a good place to go. It was a holiday weekend.
Hot summer holiday weekends are usually crowded in Panama City. The beautiful white beaches draw vacationers from around the world. As I looked out onto the beach from my room, the beach was nearly deserted, and there were only a few people in the water at noon.
My only explanation was that the water must have been freezing.
That can sometimes happen with the ocean.
It can be ninety degrees and yet the ocean can be very cold.
I had packed my wetsuit for just such an occasion.
I usually swim for a long time, if the water is unusually cold, the wetsuit makes it comfortable.
I grabbed my towel, wetsuit, and keys, and headed to the beach. There was an eerie silence magnified by the lack of people.
I let my toes slide into the frothing surf as it crashed against the beach. I was expecting liquid ice.
It was warm, very warm.
I waded out into the ocean, not worrying about bumping into anyone because no one was there.
The ocean was beautiful. The water was crystal clear; it felt like a warm bath. It was perfect.
Why was I the only one in the water?
The thought kept hounding me. This was peak season and a holiday to boot.
I swam until my muscles signaled enough exercise for the day. As I walked towards the beach with the surf crashing against my back an old man walked out towards me. A woman whom I presumed to be his wife watched him from the shore.
She shouted something that made me instantly realize why the sea was empty of people.
"Don't worry, I'll let you know if I see any sharks!" she hollered.
That was it, the people were afraid of sharks,
that's why the beach and the ocean were empty!
It was a MountainWings Moment.
I don't watch the news but I knew about the recent sighting of sharks and the shark attacks off the coast. The fear has frightened an entire nation into staying away from the beach.
Listen to this lesson.
There are three levels in coming to the beach.
First Level - The Room.
There is a great benefit in coming to the ocean just to hear the waves crashing all day and night. It soothes and calms the soul. If I had not gone out on the beach, I would have received a great benefit from being in an oceanfront room, to hear the waves, and to watch the sea.
Second Level - The Beach.
Lying in the sand and letting the sun bathe you in radiant light is an experience. I usually never use a lounge chair, I stretch out directly in the sand. I can use a lounge chair in my back yard, when I come to the ocean, I am a sand man.
Have you ever lain on the beach (in the sand) and tapped on the sand? It rings like a wooden floor. I discovered that today.
Third Level - The Ocean.
Did you know that ocean water is chemically almost identical to blood once you remove the red and white blood cells? Three-fourths of the world is covered with water. Three-fourths of your body is water.
The ocean is one of God's greatest natural creations.
So are you.
I was tingling all over once I got out of the ocean.
So many missed the feeling because they were afraid of being bitten by a shark.
Below are the top five biting injuries occurring in 1987 in New York City:
Dog bites human 8,064
Human bites human 1,587
Cat bites human 802
Wild rat bites human 291
Squirrel bites human 95
1987 Shark injuries in U.S.A. 13
Am I belittling the few shark attacks and the traumatic death of the little boy that died as a result of a shark attack? Of course not, but all too often we let other incidents of the world block us from life.
I included the above chart to emphasize that although shark attacks do occur, they are overall, very rare.
I asked the fellow at the desk about it.
"Yep, visitors are down because of the sharks, but the thing is, there hasn't been but one shark attack and that was in another city a hundred miles away. Most of what people heard about
happened on the Atlantic side and not on this side," he explained.
Here is another chart for 1996:
A Comparison with the Number of Injuries
Associated with Home-Improvement Equipment
Number of Injuries in 1996 from:
Nails, screws, tacks, and bolts 198,849
Pruning, trimming, edging 36,091
Chain saws 13,458
Pliers, wire cutters, and wrenches 15,957
Manual-cleaning equipment 14,386
Power grinders, buffers, and polishers 13,458
Buckets and pails 10,907
Room deodorizers and fresheners 2,599
Toilet-bowl products 1,567
Paints or varnish thinners 1,549
Shark injuries and deaths in U.S.A. 18
In 1996, you were over two thousand times more likely to be hurt with your toilet than by a shark. Who would imagine that the water in your toilet bowl would pose more danger than all of the sharks, snakes, and other stuff in the ocean? Maybe since 1996 toilets have gotten a lot safer and oceans more dangerous, but I doubt it.
I wondered, "How do you even get hurt with your toilet?" Those are the facts. That ought to put things in some perspective.
Fear causes so many of us to miss out on life and our destinies.
The sharks not only kept people out of the water, but out of the rooms with the beautiful view and off of the beach.
THE FEAR OF THE SHARKS REACHED PLACES,
AND KEPT PEOPLE FROM PLACES,
WHERE THE SHARKS COULDN'T EVEN GO.
Fear will keep you off of all levels of enjoyment,
even where there is little or no danger.
There are sharks in your world, some real, but most just magnified to the point where they paralyze us in our actions.
Did a friend or relative get bitten by the shark of love?
Did they get bitten by the shark of business failure?
Did they get bitten by the shark of divorce?
Did they get bitten by the shark of layoffs?
Did they get bitten by the shark of disease?
Did they get bitten by the shark of death?
Did their bites scare you so much that you won't go to the room, the beach, or the water?
I am typing on my laptop now as I look out on the ocean. The water is warmer than I ever remember. It is 2pm local time. The weather looks like something out of a tropical movie. Looking both ways I can see a mile of beach.
There is not ONE person in the water.
I am not suggesting that you do stupid and risky things, but the things that hurt most of us are not the things that we fear.
Cigarettes are the leading killer in the U.S.
Cigarettes will kill more people in the time that it takes you to read this issue of MountainWings than sharks will kill all year, even with the increased shark activity.
When is the last time you've seen anyone scared of a cigarette?
If you are going to be really scared of something, be scared of the terribly frightening things, the things that can destroy both body and soul. A shark can't do that.
Jesus put it this way, "don't be afraid of those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul, rather, be afraid of the one that can destroy both body and soul. . ."
Wives hold back from their husbands because they are afraid that if they give him their all, he could one day leave, and they've given everything. Husbands hold back from their wives because they are afraid that if they love unconditionally, they may seem weak and lose control.
Both lose, and they lose a lot, because of fear.
Sharks - where sharks can't even go.
Roosevelt said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." He knew what he was talking about.
The world is full of sharks, but the biggest one of them all, is the shark of FEAR.
The shark of fear is not limited by the water.
So what would I have done if I had seen a shark fin?
I would have exited the water most expeditiously,
making quite a splash doing it.
Then I would have stretched out on the beach, in the sand.
Go swim people, it's warmer than you think, and when you know the truth, there are not as many biting sharks as the world would lead you to believe.
Life really is a beach.
There is a room with a view, a beach, then a whole ocean awaiting you.
Don't be afraid of the sharks.
Note: Days after I wrote this and first published it, a MountainWings
subscriber sent a link with the actual shark attack statistics.
There were actually LESS shark attacks than the prior year but the ones that happened got more press.
Know the truth...
~A MountainWings Original~