Diving into Self-Pity

On a sunny afternoon last week, I found myself roughly 30 feet below to surface of the Caribbean Sea around the island of Utila in Honduras. I was enjoying the colorful coral reef, the enormous variety of fish, and the feeling of weightlessness associated with hovering in the middle of the water.

The Bay Islands of Honduras are world-renowned for diving, and it was exactly what I wanted to do. This was the reason I had decided to travel to this part of the world.  Not only did I want to dive, I wanted to earn my Open Water Diver certification. Even though this was not something I had wanted to do for years, it was still going to be an adventure that I thought I would enjoy.

After spending an hour under the water, it was time to surface so that we could switch air tanks and move to another site where we could once again dive into the crystal clear water. As I was changing out my equipment, I began to have slight pains building in my sinuses and ears. Trying to play it tough, I shrugged it off and convinced myself that it was nothing.

3, 2, 1. I step off the back of the boat with my hand holding my mask on my face and regulator in my mouth so that breathing underwater would be possible. While waiting for the other members of my group to follow suit, I put my snorkel in to scout out the life moving around underneath the surface. It looked beautiful, and I could not wait to descent to the ocean floor to practice some exercises for our certification.

Just a few feet below the surface, suddenly my ears started throbbing with pain. I signaled to my instructor that I was returning to the boat due to the discomfort. The swim to the boat and the remaining time while I sat waiting for everyone to finish so that we could return to the dock seemed like hours. During that time and over the next few hours, I had to come to a realization that I do not like. Medically my body had reached a limit that I could not push.

I did not like it, but for the sake of my well being, I could not go down for another dive unless I wanted to risk serious damage to my body.

While the rest of my group was diving, I was lying in a hammock. Tough life I know. But instead of fully being able to enjoy the relaxing sunsets or the restful time listening to waves, I was dwelling on the negatives. I was focused on the one thing that I could not do instead of being thankful for the hundreds of things I can freely do without problems.

Next time you run into a roadblock that gets you discouraged. Take a step back and think of all the other things you have been so richly blessed with. Instead of focusing on the problem, take a look around at the view around you and count your blessings.

Bryan Clifton

Oklahoma City, OK