Have you ever watched a surfer ride the waves? I have always admired her ability to identify which wave to ride. It seems as if she chooses the what looks to be largest wave in order to get the longest ride. She then swims toward the wave with her board, hoists herself onto it, and while balancing herself, rides the wave until it either reaches its peak or simply fades away. In either case the surfer ends up falling off of the board. Then, she turns around and does it again.
I would like to think that, at times, this describes how we can approach our lives. Often, we can choose the waves we want to ride. We see them clearly and can anticipate which ones will take us closest to our goals. We choose our career fields, employers, social circles, and activities that become our lives. We seek to balance our lives with all that is important to us. The days, weeks and years pass relatively smoothly until something happens and life seems to crash down upon us like the wave crashed upon the surfer. Perhaps what crashed upon us is sudden unemployment, or the loss of a dear friend or relative, or unexpected illness. We lose our balance and we fall off our surfboard.
We now face a choice. We can either return to shore or we can turn around with our board to look for the next wave. Or both. Sometimes we need the safety our shore provides to regroup and recover. Especially if our wave felt overwhelming and took our breath away. We may need time to grieve, to catch our breath. We may need the safety provided by our family, friends, and those who will listen. It is okay to acknowledge what happened and how this affected us.
While we reside on the shore, let’s take the time for self-care. Exercise, relax, listen to music, meditate and pray, and find something that makes us laugh. Replace the negative and pessimistic thoughts with ones that are positive and optimistic. These activities will gently guide us toward positive feelings about ourselves and our situations.
Our physical, emotional and spiritual strength does return. Don't be afraid to pick up that surfboard and head back out to look for the next wave. Don’t give up! You can do this! Let’s surf life’s waves!