Lessons from the Board

2 Jun

“Surfing is so spiritual” is the ultimate cliche but I am continually in awe of what I learn from surfing. So I guess cliches are cliches for reasons; i.e. there is some truth in them.

This morning the waves were really choppy. Due to the wind and something about ocean currents that I know nothing about, it was hard to catch anything. As I sat on my board feeling the waves lap about I felt more like I was on a boat than a surf board. Yet there we all were – half of San Diego sitting there hopeful that something would come along and break cleanly.

I had been out the day before where to my delight, the conditions were perfect. I caught wave after wave after wave in gentle succession. And suddenly I realized, sometimes we just get lucky. Sometimes the conditions are ideal.

And when they aren’t, there isn’t a whole lot one can do.

As we all sat out there this morning, the conditions didn’t change really but every now and then a swell formed on the horizon showing promise. At that, all of us in the line up took our positions: board pointing towards shore, belly on board, toes slightly curled, paddle, paddle, paddle. And then a random few of us were blessed by being in the right place at the right time. Similar to when a plane taxis on the runway and builds momentum to take-off, a surfer knows when one’s efforts and the wave’s power create enough synergy to stand and ride.

As I rode a wave with another surfer next to me who was insanely polite and indicated for me to stay on the wave and not drop off because of him, I afterwards thanked him. “You’re the most polite person out here,” I said for I have seen this guy before and he truly is courteous to others on a party wave. “Did you enjoy that wave?” He asked. I nodded. “And I did too and we both got to ride it. Praise God!” And I looked at him and said, “Praise God indeed.”

Praise God indeed. I have so outgrown the belief that I am omnipotent and can just make anything happen in my life because I will it hard enough. I know that for every wave I catch, one can viciously knock me down. So yes, I praise God for every blessing that happens to come my way.

Some days I totally wipe out. Sometimes it’s my fault. I’m tired, not paying attention and just do stupid things. And sometimes I have a grandiose sense of what I’m capable of and take risks I shouldn’t. Yet other times, I simply fall victim to the ocean’s currents – to the force that moves me beyond my control. And I do my best to work with it and stay out of harm’s way. But I will not get out of the water. I will keep paddling out. I will keep learning the lessons and keep taking the blessings. And yes, everyday I will praise God for his magnificent creation and will wait patiently for that perfect break that I can ride in all the way to shore.

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