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Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time. What you do and how you react to developments may define who you are.
Half dozen years ago, when my wife was alive, she purchased a book for me, signed by the author, knowing I liked World War II history and autographed books. The book was about the quest of two divers trying to discover the name of a submarine and how it met its fate.
Over the years, they had to develop better scuba gear to reach the depths unencumbered by suits with an air supply from above. The boat rested in deep water off the shore of New Jersey and had an aura of mystery.
The two were unlikely partners that became one with their goal of identifying the U-boat no one seemed to have a record of its whereabouts.
One of the divers was a salvager the other a purist. One would bring up artifacts and sell them, while the other got his rush from discovering the things he dove for and leaving them the way he found them. Eventually, after lots of investigative work, trying to discover the name of the ship and how it came to be there, both agreed to leave everything intact, once they could put a name on the boat.
The book Shadow Divers was written by Robert Curson, who later would appear at another bookseller, along with the two subjects in his book. I had the opportunity to see and hear them and to learn something more in the process.
Both of these divers were different in many ways, but the one thing they agreed upon, was that their coming together to discover the final resting place of the German sub, was a defining moment for each of them. They learned from each other and they discovered themselves in the process.
Nearly dying to reach an artifact that would give them the final piece to the puzzle they searched for, brought them to a new level of friendship and brotherhood. They both learned that their opposite personalities had certain characteristics that they initially had not seen in one another. Their dislike for each other faded away with the adventure they agreed to take on together.
I too learned from these two gentlemen, John Chatterton and Ritchie Kohler. I learned that I had a defining moment, after searching my memory for such a time in my life. Well, actually, there were a number of defining moments. That too is fine. Having more than one defining moment and realizing when they were helps us understand who we are and what shaped us.
For me, that moment came when I put on a pair of Wigwam socks, laced up a pair of something resembling running shoes and headed out the door with a goal of running 2-miles. I did not reach my first goal of running 2-miles, but
I found the determination to continue, even with the pain associated with a beginner, not knowing how to start a training program and suffering because of it.
The shoes were really not meant for running, they were purchased at a discount store and they caused foot pain. The days of trial and error taught me many things, perseverance being at the top of the list.
Without that one moment, when I saw an overweight lady jogging by my house and something clicked inside my brain and told me it was time to start exercising, I would not be who I am today. I would most likely be an overweight 2-pack-a-day smoker, instead of a world-class ultra runner.
We may not know at the time what our defining moment is, but we must be on the lookout, so that we do not let it slip away from us.
No matter the cost, we must pursue a goal, one that defines not only a moment in our lives, but also the future and who we become.