Man, it’s good to be back! I spent the last week at the beach in Litchfield, South Carolina, between Pawley’s Island and Myrtle Beach. We went to spend a week in a beautiful beach house with my parents, my sisters, and their families to celebrate my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary.
Our days were spent lounging around, praying and worshipping together, enjoying conversation, eating a lot, and reconnecting. Of course, we spent a lot of time on the beach, which my kids absolutely loved. They were born near the beach, and in their first years, we took them weekly. So the beach is in their DNA. Tai had fun doing just about anything, including playing in the sand, collecting shells, splashing in the waves, and burying me in the sand. Bronwyn was a little more skeptical at first, but her favorite thing to do was going out into the deep water with me to ride waves.
If you stand really close to the shore, you know you’re going to get beat up pretty badly, so the best spot is to go is out a little further beyond the breakers. Bronwyn clung to me pretty hard and at first she looked pretty worried. However, soon, it was pretty easy to make a game out of our adventure in the water.
As a wave was about to form, I told her we had to jump the waves. When the wave got close, we had to JUMP in order to get over it. I made this game as dramatic as possible, making believe that jumping over a wave was almost impossible.
But in order to ride the wave smoothly, we had to jump just before the wave hit us. If we jump too soon, the wave would get us. If we jumped too late, the wave would get us then too. One thing we simply couldn’t do was plant ourselves in one spot, lest we be overtaken.
I realized soon into this game that there was a rhythm to it. I could feel the water’s slight pull in the undertow, I could feel the pressure of the oncoming wave, I could feel the exact moment to jump.
Soon, our adventure turned into a dance.
It dawned on me in those waters how riding waves is much like living life. We are surrounded by circumstances that threaten to overwhelm us. Much of the time, we can see those circumstances coming straight for us. However, if we “jump too soon” by trying to dodge them, we end up getting submerged. If we wait too long to navigate over them, we can also find ourselves drowning. We have to allow those “waves” to guide us so that we can jump over them at just the right time.
Our tendency is to plant ourselves in the midst of something troublesome. But the waves teach us that if we plant ourselves too rigidly, and refuse to obey the rhythm of the wave, we will find ourselves submerged even more quickly.
We have to find the rhythm of life’s waves around us in order to get over them.
We have to feel the pull and the push, letting it take us wherever we may go.
We have to learn to dance in the waves so as not to be overtaken by them.
Your life may feel like standing chest-deep in moving water. I invite you to dance in the midst of whatever is going on with you (even literally–put in Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell and try not to dance!). By doing so, it just might help in navigating over that next wave.