This picture blew my mind the first time I saw it. In fact, I liked it so much that I made it my desktop photo on my computer when I initially saw it. Now, this photo was thrown back into my mind this afternoon as I was proctoring the second graders’ midterm examination. Through the open window in the classroom, I could see the high school boys jumping around, playing hopscotch with each other. As I balanced my attention between the two scenes, the image of this iceberg returned to my mind.

There it was, in all it’s glory, shimmering in the sunlight. And yet, from this angle, it’s so obvious that the majority of the iceberg, just as beautiful, if not more, is shrouded in mystery, and yet, we can’t spend too much time thinking about what’s beneath the surface. Can we? Any piece of ice, whether a cube clanking around in a glass or a mile-long iceberg bobbing in the North Atlantic, floats on the surface of water, 10% exposed, 90% composed.

I couldn’t help but drawing the comparison between human beings and ice. I’m not referring to surface though. I’m not saying 10% of us is the surface. This is more than judging a book by its cover. Yeah, my best guess is that, as human beings, we probably only share about a tenth of ourselves with each other. It’s all information that we offer up to one another. We choose what to share, who to present ourselves to be. I can’t help thinking that whether we’re in grade 2 or grade 10; American or Guyanese; male or female; we don’t ever give up much more than 10% of ourselves. Looking at it a little more closely, I think we share things with each other, we just fail to share “the magic” most of the time. We live in a time of:

Hi, how are you?

Good. How are you?


(YUCK!) We don’t expect much more than this. I blame technology mostly—phones, computers, ipods—for turning us into zombies, for changing what we’re willing to share with one another.

I love stepping out of a conversation, tingling from the exchange with the other party. Those are the kinds of conversations that bring people closer together, where ideas are exchanged, conclusions are drawn, differences are discussed, similarities being you closer. Those kinds of conversations take us way past the typical 10%, but it goes without say that they are not the norm, they are few and far between.

10% is talk about:



-the market

-what you want to be when you grow up

-what you did this weekend

-how your health is

-how your mother’s health it

-where you’re going on vacation

-why your boss is annoying

The 10% is easy, but I’d argue that that’s all that it is. It isn’t real, intricate, interesting, fun, deep, or anything of substance. It’s surface. It’s just easy.

And so, I say, whether you’re 12 or 20; 7 or 79, let’s do this thing! Let’s crack each other open.

Icebergs do this crazy cool thing. You see, for one reason or another, because of God or science, every so often, they flip. Yup, they flip completely over, top to bottom, bottom to top. And then, all of a sudden, what was hidden, is covered in algae, is used to being far beneath the surface, is suddenly in the light, is suddenly the 10% exposed to the world. Perhaps, it’s high time we all started doing some flipping.

There’s a way to fix our “how are you?” world. It just requires flipping. It requires taking a leap of faith. We gotta be spontaneous, crazy, out of the ordinary, out of this world. We gotta. I don’t want to know 10% of you. I don’t want you to know 10% of me. I don’t want to be an iceberg. I want us all to melt into each other, into one ocean. I want to be so much more than 2nd grade midterm exams, high school hopscotch, and a morning filled with wonder.

“If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick everyday.”

One thought on “Icebergs

  1. Being naturally somewhat of a cynic I wonder how many people would really care (or have the patience) to hear the other 90%. Reminds me of a quote: You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do.
    — Olin Miller

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