Our fears in life gradually flow into a great expanse of water. The water is murky and lacks clarity, but it feels safe to walk along the water’s edge and keep our fears close without having to fully deal with them. In such a manner, we live our lives skirting the edges of this dark ocean.
Yet what would happen if you were thrown headfirst into the water?
Karin Rooney was a nervous flyer who awaited to board a flight back home with her then-boyfriend Chris Rooney after a trip to New York City.
Soon after they boarded and the plane took off, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger spoke over the intercom with the message:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain. Brace for impact.”
This is probably the last thing that anyone would want to hear during a flight. Yet, this was exactly what the passengers of U.S. Airways flight #1549 heard on January 15th, 2009. The author, Karin Rooney, was one of 155 passengers in Captain Sully's hands after their plane started going down; miraculously he managed to land the plane in the Hudson River….without any casualties.
Karin Rooney’s story in itself is very emotional with a firsthand narrative of a sink or swim situation. After being thrown headfirst into her internal ocean, Karin describes her process of sinking as an aftereffect of such a traumatic near-death experience.
Yet, the manner in which Karin channeled her fears is very inspiring. Rather than giving into the waters grasp, Karin started learning how to swim. This comprised of small strokes from reaching out to family, talking with friends, embracing life, and re-examining her beliefs to process her fears both externally and internally. Karin imparts that in the midst of trying to overcome a traumatic situation, you have to keep going since every small stroke brings you closer to safe waters and a far off shore. It is during our sink moments, that one can truly come face to face with their inner selves (both good and bad) and see who will be there...and who won't.
To Sink or Swim
Sink or Swim also shows how you don't really have to choose one state or the other. Throughout the book, Rooney shares how sinking is a natural part of the healing process. Also, sometimes, letting go and allowing the course of life to swirl around you, enables you to pause for self-reflection. The same waters that trap you, can give you a chance to reach out for a hand to pull you out.
With guidance and a trust in something greater, the waters of life aren't so daunting and we won't be so hesitant to voyage in unknown spaces. Pain can never really go away because it is a constant companion in life and goes hand in hand with love and happiness to create a balance. So, don't be afraid to sink and swim, because eventually wounds become scars. They become reminders of what you've been through, a link to the past, and proof of all that you can really endure.
I found Sink or Swim to be a profound work with an inner light that just shines through. Karin Rooney, with Jessie Santala, relay Karin’s story and how sometimes sinking is crucial in order to really come to terms with who your are, re-evaluating your own life, and bracing yourself as you swim through the waters of life. Through it, Rooney conveys how holding on to faith, love, and courage helps keep you afloat until you gather the strength to swim again. Overall, the waters of life bring clarity. Being thrown into the deep waters allow you to summon the courage to battle inner turmoils to find a way through the waves.
Thank you so much for reading.