Looking From a Distance
- Published on Thursday, 31 January 2013 12:17
- Written by Random Thoughts With Musue Haddad
It's been a long time since we communicated. I've missed this medium, and do earnestly hope that we keep a flicker of light in this 'small corner” until we have exhausted (if possible) issues that must be discussed, or until the ills in our society run away, or till the pen runs out of ink.
Mama, I assume that the title of this letter: “When Swimming with Sharks Don't Bleed” must have you wondering: “For God sake, why will a human being swim with sharks?” Yes, for a start, that's a good question to get the mind animated. Secondly, the topic is not just an imagination; it comes out of a discussion with an elder who probably didn't want to say much as usual. His direct words to me a few days ago: “When you are swimming with sharks and you are bitten, for GOD SAKE don't bleed!” When I asked this elder to expound on his statement, he woke up from the seat he had willingly occupied opposite me during our brief discussion and lazily walked to another seat. What puzzled me about this elder, who is your brother, is that he didn't say much after that but kept on hammering, “I said for God sake don't bleed, I said for God sake don't bleed….. ” As this elder, (your brother who has taken on the duty of keeping watch over the family in your absence) repeated the admonition, I began to feel cold chills, and his voice sounded faint as I silently mulled over his stark warning and the harsh realities of prevailing situations.
As I stepped out of the elder's place; my face cringe as the hot sunray greeted me outside. The warmth from the sun warmed by body but the “cold” from the warning concealed itself in a remote part of my body - away from the sweet sensation of the sun ray. After reaching the street, I found a quiet place and began to dissect the elder's warning. I replayed our conversation, and reflected on my past – struggles from elementary through high school days: baking and selling bread, selling used clothes at Rally Time Market during my days at T-High, challenges during the senseless war, my life in exile, and my beautiful network of friends, and now “swimming with sharks.” When did I jump into the Ocean to swim with sharks? What if one of the numerous sharks brush against my body, and their fins cut me, how do I avoid bleeding to ensure that I am not eaten? Did I ignore my intuition somewhere in life?
Later, I pulled out my cellular phone and called one of my sisters, without revealing much. We discussed the topic by comparing sharks to dolphins. We agreed that the shark is a predator, the hierarchy that prevails in the seas. She bluntly told me, the shark is at the top of the game, cold-blooded and solitary. As she said those words, I felt my spine shivering. Then I heard my sister's voice, “the dolphin operates in a team, has a network that she swims with. Women tend to have these dolphin characteristics, being collaborative, being engaged, and being supportive….” I allowed my sister's voice to trail off as I thought about ways to avoid being bitten by the sharks I find myself unconsciously swimming with on a daily basis.
As I continue to think, I concluded that since sharks are solitary, one of the best ways to prevent shark attacks is to not wander away from your companions. It is apparent that sharks are more likely to attack individuals. Another way to avoid shark attack is never go into the ocean when bleeding; even if the cut or injury is minor. I've learned that sharks possess very keen senses, and blood could attract one from several feet away. Most importantly, identify sharks, stay away from their hangouts, and avoid being in the water or hangouts where sharks usually hunt for preys.
The fact is, sometimes it's impossible to avoid the terrains of sharks, especially, where the sharks are desperately pursuing their prey. Most times, we find ourselves swimming with sharks - not because we want to - but because sharks are around us. Possibly, this is what the elder saw when he forewarned –“For GOD SAKE, don't bleed!
Since it is unrealistic for me or anyone to walk into an alligator pond, let alone a shark infested water, it is therefore evident that the elder's advice was not meant to be interpreted literally. I am not in the ocean swimming with actual sharks, and you and other villagers do not jump into shark infested oceans. The elder's warning evidently means that we are swimming with two legged sharks. Mama, as I completed the latter sentences, I already started asking myself; how do I know that the Dolphin I am seeing is not actually a shark. Some sharks may disguise themselves into being Dolphins so that they can easily attack their prey!!
Mama, have you ever experienced the strange sensation of someone smiling at you and speaking gently, while at the same time you have the distinct sensation of a cold steel blade twisting between your shoulder…blades or an ice peak being pushed into your heart? That Mama is a shark trying to look like a dolphin.
This reminds me of years ago when we sat for communal meetings near the fire place. It took time for us to recognize that Zoedae was actually a snitch. That's simply because Zoedae was not only hardworking, but also on several projects: the farming group, the well digging group, the school building team and the clinic repair committee. Zoedae seemed to know all the rumors as well as most information about almost everything. Zoedae knew almost everyone and Zoedae evolved to a position of power or control in the village. Up to now, I am still amazed at how Zoedae used to continually attract attention, both good and bad.
As I reflected on Zoedae chameleon's life, I realized that I have learned that people who are trusting and haven't spent much time or awareness on "ocean" matters are great bait for sharks. Mama, it's hard to believe that someone you consider a “friend” or colleague may be the same individual who creates consistent, sometimes covert chaos. Isn't it!
I urge you, and I will do the same. That's to know that God has invested a lot in each of us; and He the Almighty will not allow a “Shark” to just “eat anyone of his children up,” or injure us willfully. We must recognize and accept the beautiful reality that God has a greater purpose for my life, and your life, and God's purpose doesn't include sharks fiercely digging those teeth into our flesh. In addition to being with us, look back at your life and see how God also touched the hearts and hands of many wonderful persons who provided each of us amazing opportunities to broaden our skills and knowledge. And I intend to use those skills to enhance society and brighten my corner. That's me!
Truthfully, I may have doubted my instincts for sometime; but Mama, please tell the villagers that if something doesn't "feel" right when interacting with an individual; they should trust their intuition. In dealing with that individual (s), occasionally they may see flashes of such individual's sharp teeth in their comments or activities. Let our people know that sharks are sharp-witted, cunning, and skillful at looking like dolphins and usually providing good service.
Mama, as I close this letter, let it therefore be known to all – whether in our neighborhood, in religious centers, in marketing association, in sporting clubs, in political and social organizations that sharks are real.