Swimming in Deeper WatersEssays — By Benjamin Dotson on April 5, 2012 at 11:53 am
A few weeks ago I had an epiphany and boiled it down to as simple as possible and then I tweeted it. It may have been said before but I could not find anything on it. Here is the phrase:
“Quantity covers the feet while quality jumps in deep”
In the following few days I mulled this thought over in my head, had a few conversations with some friends, and then I started writing. Here are my thoughts on this phrase.
If we apply this to friendships it makes a lot of sense. Using the metaphor of water to represent relationships with friends works in many ways. I don’t know about you but there are people that I spend considerable amounts of time around but nothing meaningful is said, nothing meaningful is done, and most of the time we are just existing together. We are not jumping in to who the other people really are, we just sit with our “feet in water”.
When we sit, the water comes to us and we do nothing for it. We do not ask for it, we do not work for it (besides being present), and we have no intentions of working for the water to cover our feet. When the water moves away from us sometimes we are quite content to stay where we are at. In the chair, sweating, and we can become aware of the smell of our feet if we sit too long. We will also get burned.
Swimming is much harder than just sitting with feet in the water.
For most people, we may not know how to swim in deep waters. It can be a scary experience when learning to swim in deep waters because in deep waters you can’t just stand up and walk out, you have to keep swimming. As you start to move into deeper waters you do not know what is beneath you because you cannot see what is down deep. You have to put on something that helps you see and then you can dive deep. Once you can see, a beautiful world is opened for you to explore, one deep breath at a time. Deep waters are always dark and silent, at first. It can be scary but when you come up out of the water you can hear much better. Shallow waters are nice to wade around in and you can see the bottom with no problems. The deep water is the fun part once you get past the fears and doubts of swimming in it.
Applying this to friendship… I think that we all have at one time or another been a “sit with the feet in the water friend.” We wait until someone comes up to us to start a conversation, we have no intentions of working for the friendship. We never move deeper than the surface when there is ALWAYS something deeper going on in a person’s life. We do not care to move from where we sit. We get burned because we do not understand where the other person is coming from or how they communicate. They move away (physically or otherwise) and we realize how much we enjoyed it while it was here but we sit and wonder why the friendship died so quickly instead of running to plunge into the deep water of who the other person really was/is.
To keep a close friend I think it is necessary to learn to swim in the deep waters.
It is scary at first because asking the hard questions brings hard answers. Once you have started asking the questions, you either sink or swim with them. Getting to know someone on a deeper level is a very enjoyable experience, as is swimming in deep water. It is unknown at first causing fear but once you have seen their life from their point of view, we look at them differently and usually with more respect. We see their beauty in their brokenness. Many refuse to look into the deeper parts of people because there is too much darkness that may have happened in the past or is happening now. Sometimes we don’t even have to talk to be a good friend, we just have to be present with them.
We all have a side of us that we hide on the surface level, so take a deep breath, get a different view, and learn to swim in deeper waters.
I am still learning to swim in deeper waters, I have been that person who has just sat with my feet in the shallows and I have felt the burn of it. Swimming in deep water takes practice, so start a conversation with me and we can learn together. I will also to be trying to start those kinds of conversations with more people as I come in contact with them. These are just a few of my thoughts; if you have some on this please comment below.