All of us share earth, and all of us share the same space. I want to say that all of us are caught in the same waters. But all of us experience this space or place differently. While some are simply treading water, others are leisurely swimming with or without a destination, others yet are surfing the occasional wave and yet others are steering large ships to navigate the water. All I am getting to is that while we are in the same water we all have different experiences and different perspectives.
I recall a joke of two guys going on a journey. While enjoying some fish and chips at a local harbour café in Cape Town they see an amazing full moon rise over Table Mountain. The one guy turns to his friend, and since they are on their way to Durban some 1600 km to the South-East, asks, “I wonder which is closer? The moon or Durban?” His friend, with a perplexed look on his face replies, “Don’t be silly! Can you see Durban?” As they say, it’s all about perspective.
So back to my thoughts on our own perspectives. It is pointless for the surfer to look down from his board at the one treading water and making some arbitrary judgment on his efforts in the water. Likewise, the captain of the ship cannot expect the surfer to share his perspective on navigation. This is not to say that the swimmer cannot be a captain, but it is going to take some time, and obviously, some mentorship on the part of the captain to get the swimmer out of the water and on to the ship.
I think our responsibility is two-fold. Firstly, to enjoy our place in the water, whether swimming, surfing or steering. If steering, watch out not to run over the surfers and swimmers, and if the swimmer, looking for an opportunity to progress to a board and then a ship. Secondly, to assist where we can. If we are a captain, to look for opportunity to divest our experience to those not yet with us in the boat. If a surfer, to look for an opportunity to get a second board for a swimmer. If a swimmer, to assist the aimless water-treaders or confused-destination swimmers, and point them in the right direction, or give them some stroke tips. Our responsibility does not include a condescending attitude and regard anyone as less.
So while we are not called to judge the swimmer, we have a responsibility to judge a non-directional and aimless thrashing. We also have a responsibility to provide help when we see someone on the verge of drowning. We also have a responsibility to try and revive those that have succumbed to the invasion of water in the lungs!
We are all in the same ocean. We are all in a position to experience and enjoy the full pleasure of the water…
Have you considered your position in the water? Have you considered your perspective? Are you living up to your own potential? Are you fully aware of your responsibility to your fellow water-occupants?