HeartNote, January 30, 2019: "Dive"

John was a platform diver in college. I just heard he completed a successful round of chemo. "Cancer free, Eddie." And he felt great. I asked him to recall a story he told me about his attitude toward life.

"My mother had been a swimmer, and she taught all of us to swim. I was about six when I went to the edge of a diving board and fell in the water. I had no intention of diving, I just wanted to see what the water looked like from the end of the board. Frightened me to no end."

"Every summer we went swimming, and every summer I stayed far away from the board. Years passed, and when I was about eleven, my mother had the brilliant idea that I should try diving. "Not a chance, I'll just jump in."

"No," she said. "You're going to learn to dive. Any fool can jump in. People do that with everything. They "jump" into projects, they "jump" into assignments and some blockheads "jump" into conversations."

"But diving is different. Diving is respectful to the water. The water expects your best. It's been there longer than all of us. You meet the water with your hands folded and your head bowed. And you throw yourself into it with the acceleration of excitement. You're dying to meet it. You're so damned thrilled to be with it that you bring your best self into its arms, flying through the water with the anticipation of Christmas Eve, every single time you dive."

"You do that now, Johnny. You meet the water with an explosion of joy. And once you do that, you'll be so damned excited that you'll start to do it with everything else. Schoolwork, friendship, reading, writing, playing an instrument, dishwashing, and raking the bloody leaves. Dive into it, Johnny. Show me what you can do."

John, as I mentioned, became a national ranked platform diver in school. And he lives his life like his mother told him to.

"And I swear to you, Eddie, that helped me get rid of cancer."

I believe him. Without a doubt, I believe him.



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