Posted on April 13, 2012

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My son was born three days ago, at 8.5 pounds, 21.5 inches.  The total delivery time (from arrival at the hospital to the actual birth) was an hour and a half.  My wife went through the whole process without an epidural.  And where was I during this momentous ocassion?

Diving in the ocean.  Next to this guy…

Okay, this isn’t the exact turtle I saw, but I did see one.  And it was awesome.  I’m not sure it was as awesome as seeing the birth of my son, but given the circumstances I’ll take what I can get.

I’m new to diving; heck, I’m not that great at swimming.  I can keep myself afloat, but my form is terrible and I waste a lot of energy just bobbing on the surface.  But the diving school doesn’t require more skill than that.  They basically teach you everything you need to know.

At first, there was a lot to take in.  After the first two confined dives, however, everything became incredibly easy.  Let me try to explain: inexperienced divers are given a book and some videos, and asked to study before the first class.  Then they show us the equipment.  We learn to assemble everything properly and to check for problems.  Then we don our gear and enter the water.  The instructors show us how to swim with fins and a snorkel, how to sink and rise with our equipment, and how to do things like communicate underwater or share air from the same tank.  There’s more than that, of course; my point is that it seems like a lot of information.  And when you dive to ten feet for the first time, it’s a bit freaky, especially if you take the moment to realize that you’re sitting beneath ten feet of water, with about 30-40 pounds of gear on your back!

This is where the “easy” part comes in: the class we took was designed to help people learn diving skills without mistakes, and without freaking out.  And it works.  For the most part.  I mean, I didn’t make any mistakes that couldn’t be fixed by the instructor or my dive partner, and I only freaked out twice, and I’ve still got one class to complete before I get my open-water certification, but overall it was really easy!  (And when you consider that I’m not comfortable in the water, and the other eight guys in my class passed without a problem, it was pretty easy.)

The best part is this: once you’ve got the diving skills under control, there’s no more fear.  You go underwater, hover around 45 feet below the surface, and watch the world around you.  Tranquil.  Serene.  Calm and relaxing.

But then, it has to be, because if you freak out, you die.

I can’t help but wonder about my son’s birth, about the connection between the womb and the ocean.  It seems cliched to bring it up; Percy Shelley is the earliest example I can think of; but I love coincidences, and it’s a bit uncanny that my son was born on the day I decide to take up diving.  And yet, I can’t quite fathom what it means.  (Heheh… fathom…)  See, I believe there is no such thing as a coincidence.  I don’t think that every weird or bizarre situation necessarily has meaning for me or me alone; it may be intended for someone else, someone I don’t even know.  But I believe in God’s providence, and that everything is under His control, and so anything that seems contrived probably has a purpose.  I’m just not sure what it is in this case…

I do know one thing, though: after a few days of swimming and boating, my world is still moving.  If a newborn feels like this after they leave the womb, then I understand why they’re so cranky…

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