I don't really know what to say here. I'm in awe of these kids. Lucy and her siblings have taken the hugely traumatic event of her shark attack in total stride. On July 19th, as we made the drive down the narrow strip of sand known as the Outer Banks, we crossed a very important bridge.
On this whirlwind day trip I listened to the conversation of these children as they discussed what was happening.
None of them were nervous. They were all brave.
Lucy was, as she said, excited. She stunned us with the declaration that the day she was attacked by the shark was one of "the best days of my life."
Riding in the back of the Tuttle Truck, trying to mask my trepidation with photographic snaps of the passengers on this journey, my adult mind couldn't wrap itself around her reasoning. Why? How? Could that have really been one of the best days of her life?
On the exact same beach exit, in the exact same truck, with the exact same people, and with wind whipping through her teeth and hair she shouted, "It's like we are doing it all over! What if I get bit AGAIN?!"
Seth, the ever faithful, with steady seriousness said, "It won't happen, Lucy, that's impossible."
"I KNOW!!", she quipped, "But what if it DID!?"
She describes my emotions exactly. I KNOW it won't happen again, but I also know it CAN happen.
Sitting on the shore is so safe. But is it really? And is safe good? Risk, experience, hard things...don't these things birth growth and compassion?
We could stay home in front of our tame TV sets, fill our plates with predictable portions, keep an arms length from the arbitrary, and resist risk.
But, it won't happen, that's impossible.
Their unquestioning bravery still stumps me. And Lucy has her reasons for hallowing that day in her life as a happy one. The attention. The gifts. The oohs and aahs at her gnarly scars. Maybe. But I think it runs deeper than that. Something shifted in all of us that day.
Maybe it is knowing that we're not alone in all this. That there is a Greater One directing the course and that if we are good and brave, the outcome will be, too. Maybe it is returning to the beach that day that gave us power in humility. The power to know how small you are, but how strong, too.
Regardless, we must also always be vigilant. I will forever scan the fathom for fins. And we will keep our distance from the surf during the dinner hour.
But we will also always go back to the beach.