One of my favorite books is Yann Martel’s novel Life of Pi. A young Indian man, Pi, is stranded at sea in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. If you’ve never read it, you should. It’s a beautiful examination of faith, courage, and the human spirit.
By the end of the book, you realize that, maybe, there was no tiger after all. Pi was the tiger. He became a tiger with all its ferocity and courage and strength. He became what he needed to survive.
As I drifted in my own metaphorical lifeboat, I willed myself to become a tiger like Pi. I struggled to pull myself out of fear and despair and into courage and ferocity. Finally, after working with my therapist, I realized that maybe I would need to start acting like a tigress before I felt like she had arrived. And that was terrifying.
It was at this point that my husband, Tim, who regularly checks the cheapest airfares, said, “Wouldn’t it be crazy if we went to India? Flights to Delhi are super cheap, and this amazing tour is on sale. But we would have to go in the next two months. What do you think?”
Before I could even wrap my head around the idea, I heard the tigress growl, “Let’s do it.” In an out-of-body experience, I watched our tickets get purchased, our time off requests get approved, and our bags get packed. I clung to her tail as the tigress ran headlong into a whole new, foreign world that would aggressively rub up against some of my most tender wounds.
With a very real fear and a thousand reasons to change my mind, I was about to trust fall into the arms of humanity.