And then there’s some sand there of course, but that’s not what she’s looking at. She sees this big, beautiful, blue ocean and you know what she thinks?
She thinks, “Man, I can’t wait until I learn how to swim, so that I can go into that ocean.”
So we skip a few years, and now the girl’s ten years old, sitting on that same bench. This time her legs just barely touch the ground below her, but she isn’t thinking about that.
She’s scratching her name into the wood of the bench, with a rock she found, and when she’s finished she looks up at the same view that was there five years ago. And she doesn’t see just the ocean and the sky anymore.
Now, she sees the sand below her, and clouds in the sky, and the huge waves that are crashing onto the shore.
But still, she looks at that big blue ocean and she has a different thought this time.
She thinks, “Why would anyone ever wish to swim in such rough waters?”
Now we skip another five or six years, and suddenly the girl’s sixteen. Her feet can easily reach the ground now, and the name that she carved into the wooden bench is so worn that you can just barely see it.
But this time as she sits on the bench, she cries as she looks at the view. She might have just been dumped by her boyfriend, or failed a history exam, or something along those lines.
As she looks at the beach, she now sees even more. She sees the seagulls bouncing around, looking for food, and the boats that sit in the saltwater with people on board.
And as she looks at this, she wonders what those people on board that boat are doing. What are they thinking? Who are they? What’s their story?
Five more years have gone by and now this same girl is in college. The name carved on the bench is almost completely worn away, and the tears that she cried from her previous years have dried up.
Now she looks at the same view, and she doesn’t pay attention to little details like she did when she was younger. She’s more focused now on the stretch of sand that separates her from the ocean.
And as she looks at this, she realizes how far away it seems. How she can reach out her hand, and still not even be close to it. How she can stand, take a few large steps and still, it’s out of her reach.
And suddenly, she loses hope.
And she thinks, “Why is it so far away?”
Fast forward some more years, I don’t know how many, but the girl is now a grown woman. Her bare feet touch the sand, her name on the bench is completely gone, and her tears are a thing of the past.
But now as she sits there, she notices that she has changed, and the bench has changed, and even the pattern of the sand has changed, but the ocean remains the same. And as she looks at this view that she has been looking at since she can remember, she realizes, that she has yet to swim in that ocean.
And that the ocean did not change.
Almost as if it was waiting for her.
So finally she stands up. And the stretch of sand that had terrified her in the past was no longer that scary.
And so she takes a few big steps, and she realizes that she did get closer. And that if she took a few more big steps, she might be able to touch the water.
So she takes those few more big steps, and closes the gap between her and the shore. And suddenly she feels very alone.
Here she is, out of her comfort zone, out of her bench, and she is about to do something that she has never done before. She is about to swim.
But no one wants to swim with her.
And in that moment something happened within her. Something changed.
And you know what she did?