The Buddy System

Scuba-diving school was intense. The instructors taught us how to manage our equipment, clear our masks, regulate our air flow and how to descend into the water slowly to give our bodies time to equalize under the pressure. We practiced in the pool, and after a few sessions we graduated to the ocean.

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Standing on the sandy Saldanha Bay beach, our instructor imparted one more lesson before we took the plunge: we could not dive safely unless we had a Buddy. We quickly paired up and studied the wetsuit-clad features of our new partners. These were the people we had to look out for underwater: were they handling the pressure changes? Were they safe? Were they close enough to reach if there was trouble? Every few minutes, we needed to check in with our Buddy. “All OK?”, I would ask with a signed thumbs up. “All OK,” my Buddy would signal back.

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Having buddies made diving safe.

Four months ago, when I started this blog, it felt a lot like scuba diving. There was so much new information, a new world to explore: the equipment was unfamiliar, my figurative mask needed clearing, I wasn’t sure how to control my breathing. In the excitement of the first few weeks, I dived in and quickly felt the pressure building even though I hadn’t ventured in very deeply.

That’s the tricky thing about deep water: the pressure increases quickly.

I was so thankful a few weeks later to have lunch with three women who had been writing for a lot longer than I had. They had perspective, encouragement, tips. They offered support and community. As it tuned out they were all members of the Redbud Writers Guild: a community of Christian women who are “fearlessly expanding the feminine voice in our churches, communities and culture.” I turned in my application the next day.

It seems fitting to me that the Redbud writers call each other “Buds”. Diving into writing, I need a buddy. I need someone to check: am I handling the pressure changes? Am I safe? Am I within arms reach if there is trouble? I need experienced buddies to watch and learn from, to see how they chart their courses and handle the currents. Social Media allows us a way to check in with each other: “you OK?” a Bud will ask. And fittingly, the facebook signal for reply is exactly the same as in diving:

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Having Buds makes blogging safe.

In a sea of sharks, I’m so glad I belong to my Buds.

 

This is day 5 of 31 Days of Belonging. Click here to see a list of other posts.
Photo credit: splash dive.com, liveandletsdive.com