A while back I went to the beach for a much needed spontaneous getaway with my dear friends. On the first night at around 11pm we decided we all felt like the sound of waves and the feel of sand between our toes so we wandered down the little pathway that led us straight to the beach. As often happens at 11pm, you do crazy things like decide to go swimming even though the current is fierce and its pitch black.
At one point I sort of wandered off on my own to just think for a moment. There’s something about the beach that makes one reflective. As I stood there in the ocean and let my eyes adjust to the moonlight, I slowly waded further in. The waves were just a little bit more intense than I would normally swim in and I couldn’t make it too far without being punched in the face with water. You know the kind of waves where you literally have to plant your feet on the ocean floor for fear of toppling over.. and even while planted, nature still has the ability to uproot you and force you to eat sand and skull salt water.
The ocean is sort of a funny game to me. I sort of stand there and watch the waves come and depending on their size, I adjust my stature and response to equip myself for the wave. If the swell is large enough, like it was this night, you will hear my squeal in mild fear even anticipating the wave. I squeal before it hits – I most definitely work myself up to it.
At a certain point during this spring evening, I decided to turn around and face the shore and let the waves take me by surprise. Maybe I have done this before or maybe even hundreds of times but I doubt I have ever stood and thought so intensely about what I was doing.
Somehow, facing the opposite direction was less scary.
Not at first. Of course at first it’s downright freaky. You just stand there and you have no idea when the wave will hit or how big it will be. I hated it initially and then after a few waves I found myself enjoying it. Preferring it. I let the wave take me and I let my body respond how my body naturally responded. After all, this is nature – who I am to try and control it?
While there’s something to be said about preparation and placing your feet firmly on the ground when life throws you a curve ball – there’s something special about making a choice to turn around, and simply trust.
Its funny how facing the shoreline, I never squealed in fear, just in delight. Sometimes the wave was bigger than it sounded and it sent me under, but sometimes all that came was foam around my ankles and I realised I’d freaked out about nothing. We are way too good at working ourselves into a state of worry, a place of fear. Sometimes I think the best course of action in times of stress or heartache or confusion is to simply fix your eyes on Jesus, on the steady and constant shoreline and enjoy the beauty you still see around you.
If a wave comes, it might throw you off balance. But it also might turn out to be nothing at all. Actually, it might even be beautiful. You might even enjoy it.
Don’t focus on the pain and the problem. Enjoy the small things. Learn to appreciate the beauty that lies in surprise. Life is there to be lived, not anticipated.
Turn around, take your eyes off the waves. Go on, I dare you.
I let the water take me. Florence & the Machine.