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Shot Of The Day

Atlantic Beach Florida

Facts Beyond Change

A marathon swimmer. My dad was a marathon swimmer. Not in a calm comfortable lap pool or a placid lake. He swam in the Atlantic Ocean in the tumult of the sea. Can you imagine being an ocean marathon swimmer? Swimming off the coast of the Jacksonville Beaches with him as a child, I would ask endless questions about how he could possibly do that. “What about the waves daddy? How do you swim with the waves crashing all around you?” I don’t remember his exact words, but I do remember the image his answer created in my mind. It took the wild turbulent sea and made her natural, comforting and nurturing. He explained that waves have many parts. We tend to focus on the crest or the white water because it makes the most noise, draws the biggest audience and finishes with a bang. But the crest, the crash, the finish line of the wave is just that. It is the culmination of a long gradual steady journey of the swell. “You have to go beyond the breakers to the swells.” My dad would swim with me beyond the breakers, float with me on my back, and we would feel the rock of the swells together. One after another. Up and down. Regular. Steady. Predictable. “Just go with it. Up and down. Don’t fight it. Let it carry you.” It became so natural and comforting like a mother rocking her child. After a while, I could almost imagine swimming long distances in the rock and roll of the sea. Years later, as a young lawyer wrapped up in the fear of litigation battle and facing facts in a case that were really horrible for my client, someone said this to me. “Those are facts beyond change. Don’t run from them. Embrace them. Admit them. You can’t change them. They are part of the hand you were dealt with this case, now go with it.” It was like a light bulb. It was true. I couldn’t change them. I could wish they would go away, but they wouldn’t. I could be frustrated that they didn’t make my client look so great. Clients are human, they make mistakes even if they are right about the bigger controversy. I could lose sleep over these unfortunate facts or I could accept that which I couldn’t change and move on with the stuff that I could change or help or make better. As the economy falls apart, stocks go down, people lose jobs, I start to get that fear in the pit of my belly and start fighting the facts beyond change. And then I stop and think of my dad. The waves are going to come. In a steady mellifluous flow. Up and down. Some crashing hard and some rolling to a slow steady wash, but they are going to come. Work on what you can. Don’t fight the part you can’t change. Waves of mercy, waves of grace, every step I take, I take in faith…

Posted: 2 October 2008