Tuesday, October 2, 2012

In over Your Head?

Do you remember as a kid when you'd jump off the side of the pool into the deep end? First there was the exhilaration of your body plunging into the depths, peacefully sinking to the bottom. Then, for me at least, there was the panic of trying to get my head back above water. This panic was apparently of the short-lived variety; however, since I usually jumped back in a few seconds later. I relished those times when I tested myself and my will. I still enjoy a good cannonball into the deep end, but I've found that time has tempered my desire to get in over my head.

Still, no matter how hard we try, there are times when we get in over our heads -- not in the relative safety of a pool, but in the dangerous world of real life.

Case in point: I feel the pain of the NFL replacement refs, as they struggle making their calls, having millions of people watching for their mistakes. I do not envy their situation.

In my own life, away from the floodlights and the TV cameras, and the tens of thousands of raving fans, my own male ego often throws me into the deep end. I find myself promising my wife to fix the plumbing, only to remember I'm not very good at sweat soldering. I find myself promising the boss I will have the project done by the end of day, only to remember I've lost a critical piece of data. Some days I hear my mouth making promises, only then to hear my brain say, "Now who do you think is going to do that?"

Yes, I get in over my head.

Every dad who has held his first-born child knows the feeling. Here is a little life that is totally dependent on you for every possible need: safety and food, sleep and drink, cleanliness and love -- everything that needs to be provided, needs to be provided ... by you. Looking at the babe in your arms gives you a sudden panic attack: "Hey, I'm in over my head on this one! How 'bout a little help here?"

And that feeling can come at any time: signing loan papers for college, or the car, or the house; watching your bride walk down the aisle to you; telling the boss what to do with his job; standing in front of a group of ten-year-olds, trying to encourage them after they lost their ninth straight game. Yep, the list is endless.

But there is good news in all of this. No matter how much you think you messed up, there is at least one other guy who has done the same thing before you. Every one of us has jumped into the deep end at some time in his life. Just like the first time the big kids were there to help you if you faltered, there are brothers nearby who will stand by you, advise you, and help you climb out of the deep end.

Seek them out. Better yet, find those guys in over their heads and stand with them.

They'll be glad you did.

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