As I was looking out to the horizon I saw the sun hitting the grey clouds, lighting them up in soft pastel colours. From where I was ‘sitting’ or more appropriately, floating, I was washed over with an incredible sense of humility and peace. I was submerged in 0 degree water, in a hole in the ice myself and Andrew had chopped through in order to free dive underneath. We both looked in silence towards the horizon to see nature unfold. The grey overcast day turned into a warm, soft scene of winter. The ice seemed to stretch on forever as we looked onwards.
We often receive looks of surprise, shock, and amazement when we tell people we dive under ice, or better yet, when someone witnesses us walking out onto the frozen water. They can’t believe we do what we do. Earlier this same day, we were all suited up and ready to walk out. I was lagging behind when a stranger came up to me and asked what we were doing. I told him we were going to dive under the ice. He looked at me, paused and questioned. I repeated myself and explained our intentions. He said, ‘Well, we all have our demons.’ I laughed, and went on my way. I couldn’t help but think about what he said. I dive under ice to see things most people have not seen, not for some dark insatiable desire for risk. It challenges me to learn and grow in my own character. And to experience God’s creation. In today’s world, especially in a privileged country such as Canada, we have so much comfort and excess that we often lose sight of what is most important, and we easily take things for granted. Being out in wild environments allows me to recognize and be thankful for where I live, my family, friends, and everyone and everything that has helped me in my life.
Above all else, nature and diving under ice fills me with humility. Being out in wild places takes a lot of effort and drive, but it also gives so much more. Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character, hope (from the apostle Paul). The ice just adds another element of discomfort that can only be experienced, as it is difficult to explain through words. I have learned to work very hard to capture unique imagery, but I do not grow attached to the results. I try very hard to let the results for my efforts fall as they may, although I still struggle with that. When we grow attached to our accomplishments, and we try to live life on our own terms, and we try to control the outcome of our efforts, we lose sight of the truth. And the truth can only be found in Jesus Christ.
I have been through dark times where I was depressed, selfish, uncaring, unloving, and fed up with life. The only release I thought I had was freediving and travelling. I was very wrong about that. When I was intellectually honest in my pursuit for the answers to the big questions of life, I found Jesus to be the truth. The only way I received that truth was through humility, a letting go of ones selfishness. It takes an honest look inwards to see the truth. I honestly never thought I would say or write these words, as I was an agnostic for a very long time. However, the pursuit of truth led me to Jesus and the answers He provides fill the soul with peace and love for God and all people.
Humility brought me steps closer to seeing the purpose of life, and to realize what we do, how we do it, and how we live, have consequences. People too easily reject truth of any sort, because by human nature we want to live on our own terms and for our own desires. I think there are those who seek relationships looking what they can get out of it, versus what they can give. When we accept a relationship with Jesus through humility, we become grounded, and transparent, not weak and submissive – but open to truth, to other people, and we see the world much, much differently. The Christian faith has opened my eyes to the wrong in the world, and the wrong within myself. It is a struggle to do which is right, and say no to that which is wrong. But it is under grace which we live through Jesus, not laws. These wild places I have visited have led me to this answer, I just didn’t realize it until now. So with that I say, honestly ask yourself if you are living up to your own standards – are you being the best person you can be for yourself and for others? The only way to even come close to doing so is through Christ. I believe humility, and the true message of the gospel will bring you to the answer who is Jesus Christ.