Are You A Shark or a Water Lily?
A friend sent me a photo of water lilies that she captured with her cell phone in the park near my home. The dainty flower reminds me of a story I wrote a while back about a select group of strong, naughty church women and their interaction with a pacifist. Today’s repost with minimal changes carries a lesson for all types of personalities.
I’m a water lily, but I’ve learned how to swim with the sharks.
Water lilies don’t move much. They like the still, quiet water, like a pond, and they just sit there looking peaceful. Their real strength is underneath, below the surface. Their root system under the flower attaches itself to the soil beneath, sometimes as deep as six feet.
Sharks, on the other hand, are good swimmers. They keep moving to breathe and stay afloat. They have sharp teeth and they’re sensitive to motion and attracted to blood. They appear out of nowhere and circle their prey!
I yearned to be on the board of my church’s Women’s Ministries. The large church offered a variety of activities for all women of all ages. They planned spring teas, prayer meetings, fall retreats, Bible Studies, support groups and mom’s meetings in the park.
Finally, the letter arrived in the mail and the invitation to serve with the women offered me work to do in an area I love—communication!
Summer arrived and the board’s agenda, planning the fall retreat, meant for us to pile into a large van and head to the mountains to scope out resorts for the event. We agreed on the location and got busy choosing a theme. We spent a few evenings together praying and brainstorming.
I completed a rough copy of the retreat flyer I designed to show the board. I proudly placed my doozy of a draft in front of our president with copies for all the board members.
Then it happened!
She took out her red marker scratching out all my superb verbiage, changing my font, scribbling in the margins and basically asking me to start all over and recreate my masterpiece in her image. Everyone agreed with her!
On to the next order of business….
I got a surprise when I opened my email the following morning. Mrs. President sent me a letter of apology with copies to all the gals on the board. She couldn’t sleep the night before because she tore into my draft flyer like a shark chewing its prey.
I’ll admit sometimes things offend me, but as one who writes, I expect to redo it and redo it until everybody approved my copy. However, I wasn’t going to tell her that.
God was dealing with these bullies and it was an opportunity for me to have some fun. I replied:
Thank you, Madam President, for your apology. I humbly accept it though it is not necessary. I am happy to make the changes and take no offense. It’s a privilege to serve with accomplished women. I perceive that you see me as delicate; perhaps a water lily, but I assure you ladies I am not shatter-able and I can swim with the sharks!
The board members flooded me with fun email replies. I smiled ear to ear after I read their hilarious comments to my response.
I knew I passed the initiation test because I received long, loving hugs from each lady shark at church the following Sunday morning. Our relationships, always good, reached a higher level.
And for the rest of you: Don’t be so quick to judge a delicate water lily. We’ve got a strong support system underneath where you can’t see.