Sunday, November 23, 2008

Youch! I backed into a Cactus!


This week I was aghast to learn, and through the most unlikely circumstances, that someone whom I respect had written to another several months ago with words that were accusing and pre-empting that I would not act with integrity. In the matter of life and death, the situation was not a big issue, but the written words stung as I couldn’t comprehend how they could see me in that light. Granted, they had known me for several years, though only in a work sense and certainly not well.

Fortunately, since then time has proven that they were wrong about their expectations of me.

But my nature is such that the written words stung and I fought off tears for several hours as I reflected on the circumstances at the time. This sort of thing has happened to me a few times through life – and probably a few times or more to every living person on this earth!

I have spoken of this to no-one, other than in prayer. As I worked through my feelings (which ranged from “get stuffed!” to forgiveness), I went through some soul-searching as I always do. Was there any truth that I was blinded to? I believe not, so was there something in my manner that gave this impression? Not intentionally, but if so, communication at the time would have cleared that up in a positive way.

Before I could move to a position of self-righteousness, my next thoughts swung to asking myself if I, too, have said things about others without knowing them well, or the circumstances! It can be so easy to “write someone off” if we think our spoken or written words will never be heard or read by them.

Something to think about, eh…?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Raising the Dead


by Phillip Finch (Harper Collins Publishers, 2008)

This book is the most gripping and challenging I have ever read! It is the true story of the retrieval of the body of a young man who went missing at the bottom of Bushman's Cave in the Kalahari Desert 10 years earlier.

I remember hearing it on the news. On New Year's Day 2005, Australian Dave Shaw (an airline captain), together with his diving buddy, Don Shirley, and a full support team, were going to make an attempt to retrieve the body which lay at the bottom of the water-filled cave about 900 feet below the surface.
I also remember counting the hours till we would hear news of the outcome of their mission, and then the shock of hearing Dave Shaw had lost his life.

As 'extreme' divers they used the most advanced diving equipment and a mixture of breathing gases. It was only in reading the book that I appreciated the planning and rehearsals that went into this dive and just how knowledgeable and experienced these men were. As 'extreme' divers they used the most advanced diving equipment and a mixture of breathing gases which they calculated and mixed themselves, often altering mixes for depth during the dive itself.

The book transported me on a trip into another world where I was conscious of every breath I inhaled as I read. It is, to me, an amazing true story
of pushing incredible boundaries of human endurance, of mateship and trust, and of Dave's wife's unconditional love.

Just the thought of entering the cave through a crack in the rock below the pool of water, and into the depths in complete darkness other than the torches they carried, had my adrenalin flowing - and that was just the start of the dive!