PORCH SWING POINT OF VIEW: There are Sharks in the Waters (Aug. 13)


Da-dum-da-dum-da-dum…a triangular fin cutting the surface of the sea…da-dum-da-dum…circling round and round…da-dum…then a glint of pearly white teeth like knives.  These visions inspire movies, television programs, and our deepest fears.  Make no mistake—there are sharks in the waters. 

 A young boy hurries out to recess full of anticipation to climb the wooden playground fort and slide down the slick steel chute—his favorite activity.  But as he nears the source of his delight, he spots the class bully standing atop the wooden structure glaring at those who dare to climb.  There are sharks in the waters. 

The thriving businessman who has turned his life around from a sordid past pulls into the dimly-lit parking garage.  The terrifying suspense building, he spends these moments counting and recounting the money he will soon outlay to keep his past secrets in the shadows.  The dark sedan of the blackmailer pulls up alongside and the window slowly rolls down.  There are sharks in the waters. 

The carefree, minds-her-own-business mother of three begins to suspect her elderly neighbor of so many years is being mistreated by her caregiver.  Then one day as she washes dishes in the sink, she happens to notice through the window the abuse of her neighbor first-hand.  There are sharks in the waters. 

There are sharks in the waters; so, what are we to do?  Pack in our beach vacation and deem it a bust?  Walk across the wood-chipped playground, dejected, to the bench to plop down and wait for the end of the torturous recess?  Shall we go on allowing our success to be extorted for fear of our past catching us?  And should we feign ignorance in the neglect of others and simply turn our head, avert our eyes?  We could.  After all, there are sharks in the waters. 

But somewhere out there a young man is making brave, though trembling steps up that ladder and soon feeling the rush of air in his face as he slides down that silver chute.  And the bully loses his power.

And in a nice restaurant a few blocks away, a successful businessman is treating his staff to an expensive meal with the money his extortionist won’t get this month.  His staff now knows about his past and respect him even more for the way he has turned his life around.  The blackmailer is out of information.

And in a quiet suburban neighborhood, a mother sits on the porch swing with her elderly, widowed neighbor, sipping a glass of cool lemonade.  The bruises have all healed and the widow is thrilled with her new caretaker—the mother from next door.  The abuser awaits trial. 

Yes, there are sharks in the water, but we swim on.

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