Riding the Waves…Sort of.

“Look up, just look out and take it in. If you look down, you’re going to nose dive every time.”

“You got it, just stand up.”

“You could have saved that wave, you didn’t have to bail, you just got to calm down and find your balance next time.”

“Getting to your feet is the hardest part, after that you just have to stand and enjoy.” 

There’s a bang, loud, kind of like someone dropped a stack of books in the other room. Deep breath. Strong hands keep the board steady as I try not to grip the rails too hard. Gentle rush of water, gentle push, and then you hear yells of “Pop up! Pop up!”

It was like a dream, the pop up was easy enough, and then over confidence took over, balance lost that fight, and the water, while a very nice 75-80 degrees, did slap me back into reality with a sinus flush.

I’m on vacation, why did I wake up at 5:45 to come and put myself through this pain? The answer is that it was totally worth it. Surf lessons at Typhoon Lagoon, home of one of the world’s largest wave pools, was a great highlight of a much needed vacation in Disney World.

The above statements from the three amazing instructors were what made the early morning without a Bloody Mary in hand worth it. Bailey, Kyle, and James (please give them raises or something, because they are truly amazing).

I live in SoCal, and have had many a convo with the stereotypical surfer philosopher, young and old; but until that lesson, I had never got the frame of mind that surfing is a metaphor for life. The above quotes are actual advice that I was getting about my stance on the board, not about my life, but I thought I was getting a session with three life coaches. 

The water was warm, the hard work was being done for me, because Kyle and James were treading water, holding my board steady, putting the leash on me, and pushing me in the wave at the opportune moment. How they had the energy to do it, I don’t know, let alone still be encouraging and enthusiastic in their want for me to stand up and experience the sport that they so love.

I get it now. It is about the harmony, the balance, and most importantly, trusting yourself to have the instinct to work with your surroundings. Surfing does not feel like stand up paddle boarding, it does not feel like boogie boarding, or a combination of the two, as I was expecting it to. It is its own beautiful beast, that challenges you to stand up for yourself, but rewards you with the feeling not of conquering nature, but melting in with it. It fills you with an ecstatic peace that is obviously hard to describe, seeing as I am doing a poor job of it.

In the time it took for the wave machine to suck in enough water for the waves, James and Kyle would mostly let you be at peace, after they gave you pointers of course. At the time I thought it was because they were probably focusing on holding the board, and not feeling the pain of constantly treading water; but now that I think about it, they probably wanted us all to feel the peace of being on the water with your thoughts. Might just be me, but I was absorbing their advice, trying to fuse it in my brain, so that I could essentially forget it, and let my body do what it so naturally wanted to do, balance with nature (or at least the simulated nature of the wave).

They reminded me to look up, that I had my feet under me, so why not trust myself and stand? There was a part of me (the part that wanted the bar stand to be open when we were done with our lesson), that wanted to say, “Hey, life is hard, and complicated, it’s not that easy!” Then there was a part of me that wanted to say, “Stop saying everything I need to hear, I’m on vacation!”

My surfing friends will be glad to hear that I no longer think they are trying to fit into a stereotype when I say that surfing truly is a metaphor. It taught me to look up, I need to stop focusing so hard on what I’m supposed to be doing in the future, I need to look up and take control of my present. My feet are under me, which is apparently the hardest part, so I need to buck up and stand.

Big wave, every time. I was raised in a “go big or go home” family, and I wasn’t going to disappoint. Plus, I know enough to realize the small wave would take more body control…Injury Girl was one of my first nicknames, control does not come naturally. With each wave I got another phrase that reminded me of life, that wasn’t the intent, I know, but it was the result.

Look up.

Trust that you got this.

Stand up.

Balance before you freak out.

Most importantly: Stand up and enjoy.

Otherwise, what’s the point?

Undeclared

There was a complication when it came to getting into college. I had the early admission going for me, so by October of my senior year of high school, I was already admitted and picking out my freshman classes, all I had to do was get through the rest of high school. Then came a call in April, the major program I had chosen, in my mind the life path I had chosen, was cancelled; but not to worry, they offered me the chance to go to the wildly expensive university undeclared. There I was, April of my senior year, heartbroken, and seeing as I had turned down all the other schools that had accepted me…futureless. I refused to go undeclared, and my mom spent her days cold calling colleges to see if any would let send my transcripts for a late admission.

I ended up in the perfect place for me, but it took a leap, not without some stumbling, to get there. Now I find myself in a situation where I feel I have compromised myself. I still have my faith, but I’m afraid that fear is leading me to an undeclared life. The blessings do not run short in my life, I am aware, and not nearly as thankful as I should be for that, but…I feel futureless again. When looking for a career, I have an idea of what I want to do, but now I am feeling it is not what I should do, what I’m made to do.

It is strange, being so stubborn, looking at a job search engine, knowing the keywords that I want to type, and knowing that they are not the right words to enter. It is frustrating, not knowing where I am supposed to go, what I am supposed to do. It warms my heart, and breaks it at the same time, knowing all too well that God is going to choose my path, He and He alone will put things in motion, and I have but to wait in patience, ready for action, ready for a leap of faith.

 

I have just a little longer of living an undeclared life, before He shows me the way.

Trust

Trust has never been easy for me. Even as a child, I wouldn’t want to look into people’s eyes, because I thought they would be able to see and know everything.

 

Being full grown, now I know. People can look into my eyes, and see only that light which I choose to shine on them. People will open up to me and tell me their life story, for no other reason than I must seem trustworthy. And no, I am not a bartender, so liquid courage is not a factor in these strangers’ confessions.

 

There are times when I wonder if these people are fools. I am trustworthy, make no mistake, but who offers up that kind of information to a stranger? If I had hacking skills, and a total lack of morals, I could accurately guess all of their passwords!

 

And then, the far more likely reality hits me. I’m the fool. A victim of this individualistic world, I see most things through a darker lens. Sure my personality is bubbly, I do in fact smile a lot, and strive to treat everyone with kindness and love, but do I ever share in that hope and trust of mankind?

 

I barely share everything with loved ones.

 

Trust.

Trust.

Trust.

 

Who knew five letters would make me work so hard.

God’s Acts

“It would take an act of God.”

How many times have I heard, said, or thought this in reference to situations big and small? Dreams that I never thought would become realities. Constants that ended up being not so constant.

These acts of God I am all too familiar with. When in a bout of self-pity and childish thoughts, I would tell you that God is generous with his gifts, and swift to rip them from my hands the moment I’m convinced I get to keep them. When I’m in my right mind, I say that life is hard, and that it’s humbling flattery that God finds me so strong.

The frustration sets in when eyes with a backsplash of pity look at me, as if to say, “This is what you’ve done with what you’ve been given?”

I do not rant about what I’ve done with the things that have been taken. In fact, I rarely tell people of distressing news, unless prayers are needed, because I despise pity. It leaves a coppery taste in my mouth, and a tint of red in my eye. Do not obligate me to comfort you over my pain. It may seem cold, it may be aloof, but I assure you that I am no stranger to death and heart ache. God’s acts have moved my life many a time. Through Him I am strong, and I move right along.

It would take an act of my own stupidity to reconsider the near & distant past. And an act from God, the only constant in my life, to let go and journey on into that vast unknown that most call a promising future. So whether or not you worry, I wanted to say I’m fine. The future that He has planned for me is far too exciting to dwell on the past that I cannot change, nor do I want to.