If you know three facts about my wife, one of them is likely that she is afraid of sharks. In fact, on our Honeymoon, we went snorkeling in the Pacific. The water was about 60 ft deep and that perfect crystal-clear blue so you could see right down to the bottom. I was having the time of my life, exploring the ocean. I didn’t realize she was on the verge of a panic attack the whole time, sure that at any moment, a shark was going to dart in and devour us both.
We both love the ocean, but early in our marriage, she wouldn’t go in past her calves (because she read that sharks can attack in calf-deep water).
If you know three facts about my wife, you probably also know that she’s brave and tough. So she wasn’t going to let her fear of sharks stop her. Every time we go to the ocean, she’d go in a little deeper. To her knees, then to her thighs. Her waist, her stomach, her chest.
Every time, she would shout, “Look how deep I’m going! Look how brave I am!” and we’d laugh together.
For the last several years since we’ve moved to Texas, we have gone to Austin each summer to participate in the Alamo Drafthouse’s “JAWS on the Water”, where you watch JAWS while you’re floating in tubes in a lake. It’s a lot easier to convince yourself lake sharks aren’t a thing when it’s light outside. But she loves it.
Speaking of JAWS, we decided a few years ago that one of our bucket list items would be going cage diving with great white sharks – the most dangerous predators in the ocean. And she’ll tell everyone who asks that she’s convinced she’ll die of fright in that cage, being so close to these beasts.
It’s funny, to be so fascinated by something and yet afraid as well. One of the reasons I love Amanda is that she refuses to be paralyzed by her fear. Having a front row seat to her courage for the last 13 years has taught me what it looks like to stand up to fear and take a chance on love.