There I was, sitting on the beach with my book and sunnies, watching the waves roll in. I counted the number of surfers out and did my best to read the waves.
"The wave's going to break right about.... NOW."
"If that guy wants to catch the wave, he'd better start paddling right about.... NOW"
"Based on the speed she's paddling, she's going to catch the wave."
"Based on the speed he's paddling, he's going to get absolutely swallowed."
In truth, I was procrastinating surfing- which sounds silly. Once i'm in the water, I love the feeling- despite whether or not I catch a bunch of waves. It's just the unloading of the surfboard, climbing into a wetsuit on a hot day, and battling the white wash to get out to the lineup that deters me. I kept thinking-
I don't have enough time right now to get a good sess in.
What if my shoulder pops out? (I have a shoulder that likes to partially dislocate when I'm fatigued and I surf with a wetsuit)
The waves are too big for me anyway.
The waves are too small to be fun.
Essentially, I didn't want to "waste" all that effort unless it was a solid day of surfing.
I looked down at the book I was reading and continued to read. The next chapter started like this:
With the best of intentions, we often build false careers of studying the river without ever getting wet. In this way, we can ponder great philosophy without ever telling the truth, or analyze our pain without ever feeling it. We can count our money without ever spending anything or say our prayers without ever feeling God's presence. We can play music without ever feeling it or love skillfully without feeling passion.
The river is the ongoing moment of our living. It is the current that calls us to inhabit our lives and no matter how close we come, no matter how much we get from staying close with a sensitive heart, nothing will open us to joy but entering the stream.
Okay universe, I get it.
How often do we stand on the edge of life, just watching it happen without taking the plunge? We date around and know, theoretically, what makes a relationship work but are afraid to commit. We attend heart opening retreats or workshops but we stay just on the other side of vulnerability. You can fall flat on your face, yes, and you can also have the time of your life.
Needless to say, I closed my book, went surfing, and had the time of my life that day.