My sun porch

My sun porch

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Life Lessons from the Ocean - Part 3 - A lesson in humility

"For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar - the Lord Almighty is his name." -- Isaiah 51:15

Standing in the ocean, not far from the shore at low tide, the water was only at my knees. These waves aren't so bad! I walked further out. I looked to my left at the pier and I was almost equal with the end of that pier. The water still only came up to my waist most of the time. The pull of the ocean at my feet was stronger. I could feel the tug of the current, which usually pushed me back to shore, but now seemed to be pulling me further out to sea.

I became emboldened and faced the waves. Here at the "breakers" where larger waves would boil and roll up in front of me,  it was like seeing the birth of a wave. My writer's mind thought of my ocean/life analogy and I decided to pretend I was fighting with the ocean. It was throwing bad stuff my way. I jumped over waves, dived underneath, let them crash into me...never had I felt so powerful! No wave was going to take me down! I walked on a little farther, not listening to my husband calling for me not to go too far. I yelled at the waves, "Come on! Is that all you've got?!" I laughed at the next wave that slapped against me and knocked me back a few steps. I wiped the salty water from my eyes and enjoyed the powerful feeling! What fun! How exciting to feel like you can take on the world! I let a few more bigger waves hit me! I pretended to be Muhammad Ali, dancing around the waves. "Come on waves! I float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!" I laughed at myself, dancing in the waves...and then it happened.

I had gotten too cocky. I took my eyes off the oncoming waves in my little dance of power and a huge wave hit me from the side, knocking me off balance. I fell backward, just as another large wave rolled on top of me. I went under. I could feel the sting of salt water in my nose and throat. I felt myself flailing around, trying to get up. I thought I was drowning! It caught me so off guard that I couldn't think straight. Then I remembered it wasn't that deep and I stood up. I coughed and sputtered and got my feet planted firmly in the sand. As I got my bearings back, the waves kept coming and I knew I had the get back to shore. I turned my back to the waves and walked as quickly as I could toward to the warm sand. My husband just thought I was taking a break, waved and kept swimming. He had no idea I had just cheated death.

Well...cheated death might be a bit dramatic. But at that moment, lungs full of salt water, eyes and nose stinging, and legs like jelly, I felt near death. Each step felt like a mile and my chair on the beach looked so small. I HAD to reach it! I kept trudging along, the current pulling me, taunting me, making fun of my weakness.

When I did make it back to my chair and my towel, I plopped down, blew my nose and laid there for several minutes, thanking God for saving my life. My cockiness and greed for power took me under. It's addictive, that power. Once I conquered one big wave, I wanted more. I fought the waves instead of respecting them. I taunted them. I do not want to be that drunk with power again, even if it is a make believe battle with the sea.

Dear powerful Father,
Thank you for this lesson in humility. I am but a speck to your power. When I learn to respect that power and rely on it, instead of letting a little power make me cocky and stupid, you will use that power to protect me and support me. That is a good lesson for anyone on this earth. Thank you for your amazing and wonderous creation. Amen.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Life Lessons from the Ocean - Part 2

"Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me." -- Psalm 42:7

When you are standing in the ocean, enjoying the coolness of the water and and the warmth of the sun upon your skin, there are times you feel strong enough to face the on-coming waves head on. You walk toward them and feel like you and take on the tallest wave. You see the waves coming...the small ones that break past you and the big ones that try to take you under.  You think, "I've got this!" It's a powerful feeling to be that strong and prepared!

Sometimes the really big waves come together. A strong one almost knocks you down, but you stay strong. But before you've had a chance to wipe the salt from your eyes another wave is right on top of you. This one might take you down, but your reaction time is pretty quick and you pull yourself right back up. And then yet another wave is right behind it, ready to devour your weakened spirit. The undertow is too much for you at that moment and you go under. Salt goes up your nose and burns your eyes and throat. You feel like you can't fight anymore and you want to give up. But you grasp onto whatever fighting spirit you have left and you stand up.

In these times, you are too weak and recovering to feel strong enough to face the waves. You turn your back to them and deal with them as they come. The small ones might break around you with little trouble, but the big ones still come and beat you up when you don't see them coming. You aren't prepared and just to weary to care.

Sometimes the ocean gives you moments of rest in between the waves. Those moments are peaceful and you can catch your breath and just float along. You watch the waves crash around you, maybe taking others under, but your area is calm and peaceful. This peace doesn't last long, but it gives you rest so you can prepare for the next round.

It is important to remember to never go swimming in the ocean alone. When multiple waves have weakened you, a friend will lend a hand and help you walk to the safety of the shore. That friend will help you walk across the painfully sharp rocks and shells that come right before the soft sand and will get you a comfortable chair on the beach so you can rest up for your next swim.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Life Lessons from the Ocean, Part 1

"The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land." -- Psalm 95:5

Today I am blessed to be sitting on a balcony outside my hotel room, looking out on the beach and listening to the constant crashing of the ocean's waves. I am working on writings that I began last year at this time about how the ocean is like life. Over the next few days, I will share some of those words with you. 

1. What you see when looking at the ocean is never the whole story.  There is so much going on beneath the surface of the ocean. Creatures live their lives under water that we never see by only looking at the waves. Don't we do the same thing with people? We only look at what we see on the surface and judge them. We have no idea what's going on in their hearts and minds. 

2.  Looking at the ocean, you see the waves coming from all angles, and not always straight on. The waves of life - the trials, problems, frustrations and challenges come at you from all directions. Just when you are looking and waiting for something to hit you from one direction, something you are not anticipating at all hits you and takes you by surprise.

3. Sometimes those waves coming at you are small or even medium sized and you can just jump right over them and enjoy the feeling of weightlessness in the process.

4. There are times, however, those waves are big and knock you down. The thing is, you KNOW there are always going to be big waves. When you get knocked down, you don't have to drown...STAND UP! When you are near the ocean shore, the water isn't that deep. Remember that when you are going under and pull yourself back up.

More of my thoughts tomorrow...Blessings, by friends!