I was a preteen when I began surfing. I was never really great at it, but that didn’t stop me from coming alive every time my chest hit my newly-waxed board as I paddled out for the first wave of the morning.
The elation that came over me as I first peered over shifting dunes to see a glassy 6-foot swell awaiting me and my youthful giddiness is a feeling that has stayed with me even over several decades of being landlocked.
I was so obsessed I would risk Man-O-War stings (vicious jellyfish) and barely have the strength to paddle back to shore (I’ll never forget that!).
One time I was even crazy enough to rush out to the beach as soon as I heard a hurricane was fast approaching and the waves reached a devouring 10-15ft face.
There were times on that outing when I wasn’t sure if I would surface long enough to fill my lungs before the following behemoth of a wave pummeled me toward the ocean floor again.
It was dangerous. It was beyond risky.
And it was the time of my life..
...and It shaped me and made my heart alive in ways I’m still discovering.
In this season, I have often felt like I’m paddling out again into that ominous, wave-thrashing, sea, alone with God and only a seed of a promise.
A seemingly insignificant, very unimpressive looking seed to show for anything.
Some people would call it mad or delusional. Sometimes I’m even tempted to consider it, myself.
But if I don’t believe- fully believe with everything I am and have- then there is no hope to give to others. There is no future to move toward. There is no great wave to catch.
Everything that could be is lost before I even reach my hand out to hold it.
Throughout all the stories that I have read between God and man, the impossible happens, and often. But only through faith. Not through comfort, the ever elusive concept of “certainty,“ “playing it safe,“ or even helping people bridge the gap between their paradigms and your seemingly off-hinged decisions (perhaps their prejudices and your seemingly off-hinged decisions).
Even Jesus said abrupt things like, “Let the dead bury their dead,“ without offering explanation or feeling he needed lto unpack it.
And as for playing it safe- Helen Keller had something interesting to say about it:
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure…
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
If you want to ride the wave, you can’t stay on the beach. Even if people think you’re crazy for paddling out into an endless ocean of uncertainty.
And like the water that propels you into exhilarating speeds, twists, and turns, every interaction you have with it sends out ripples for generations and generations to come.
Either nothing is at stake, or everything is.
Even if they think you’re crazy.
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