He was a bold man who first ate an oyster.
-- Jonathan Swift
“Be bold! Be daring!” has been my husband’s mantra to me throughout our 31 years of marriage. But such encouragement started long before that. If I think way back I recall Matt calling out those words from a floating dock. We were just kids and attending summer camp on Catalina Island, off the coast of California. Water was a restricted commodity back then and if you wanted to wash your hair it had to be done in the Pacific Ocean. I wasn’t at all sure about that plan, but I recall Matt holding up a small bottle of shampoo while treading water, out by that dock.
“I’ll rinse it for you. Swim on out here and go for it!”
He hollered encouragement and I made the swim.
Not such a big deal, to be sure. But being bold and daring and the ocean are uniquely connected when it comes to me. Three summers ago we purchased a two-person kayak and before taking it out we asked an instructor to teach us how to intentionally roll it over, release ourselves, right the kayak, and get back in. The first time we attempted the maneuver I sat in that kayak for a few minutes, pondering the cold water and my fear.
“Be bold! Be daring!” I heard Matt say. “I won’t let you drown!”
Terrified, I rolled over. I also learned how to pull myself back into the boat and I didn’t drown in the process. I gained confidence and a degree of pride that I had chosen to push through my fear.
Buoyed by the thrill that being bold had gifted me, I slurped down my first raw, Penn Cove oyster in celebration that night. And everyone who witnessed the event was right: It wasn’t slimy. I didn’t gag. And you cannot truly experience all that Whidbey Island has to offer unless you’ve been bold and daring enough to raise a half shell above your mouth and let that cold soft oyster slide right down. It’s a refreshing gulp of the ocean and gives fuller understanding as to why many native peoples made their home here so long ago.
The Puget Sound has always gifted its residents with amazing food.
I still don’t consider myself to be a particularly bold and daring person. It’s not my initial reaction to be terribly brave, either. But I have lived long enough and exercised my faith to the degree that I willingly move past my nature with greater peace these days. Why? Because God is on duty. In spite of all the talk of sequestering and massive budget cuts, with a significant portion of our own income in great jeopardy, I choose not to focus on thoughts that worry me. Instead, I hear Matt’s encouragement ring in my ears. I recall all the times God has been present. And I picture my friends of faith, who continually offer prayer, and hugs, and care.
Be bold! Be daring! You bet.
Joan Bay Klope can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org