Have you ever lived with regret? Have you ever let an opportunity pass you by because you were simply too afraid to act upon it? Sadly I have, certainly more than once, but perhaps none quite as memorable as a snorkeling trip in the Caribbean.
When my children were young, we planned and took "The Trip of a Lifetime". We actually called it that because we never anticipated being able to do it again. In preparation for this trip, which would include a snorkeling opportunity, I bought my kids snorkeling gear and took them to a local pool to practice. I wanted them to get the most from their adventure in the ocean, without being hampered by not being familiar with the equipment. They practiced going along the surface; they practiced diving down and following it with a mighty burst of air to clear the water from their snorkel tube. They were ready. What followed was one of the most humbling experiences of my life.
Drifting along casually, enjoying the sun on my back, I was startled by something sparkling in the sun. Wait a minute. What IS that? Hovering at the surface of the water, I eventually determined that a golden ripple in the sea grass was indeed REAL gold. I was able to make out a claw hook and realized it was a gold necklace, left behind some other day by some other snorkeler.
Now is the time to use that practiced skill of diving to the bottom and claiming my treasure. And yet? I WAS PARALYZED WITH FEAR. I couldn't bear the thought of filling that tube with sea water. I couldn't bear the thought of sucking in a mouthful of salt. In hindsight, apparently my brain was paralyzed too. It never occurred to me to rip the snorkel out of my mouth and just hold my breath.