Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Slipping Away From Shore

A couple of weeks ago  I headed to the Gulf of Mexico with a friend for a small getaway before the serious wedding countdown and all that goes with it begins in earnest. I was fortunate that she is a companion willing to get into the water and stay there, languishing in the healing saltwater for hours at a time. The waves were big and rough and neither of us being great swimmers we lingered along the shallows, being pummeled by wave after wave. Being tossed by a series of powerful flaps of water that lifted us and then slammed us onto the sandy bottom, holding us there while conspiring with the one that followed to catch us just as we arose unaware only to be dragged like rag dolls across shoreline again, eventually caused us to head for deeper water, past the foamy turmoil.

It was a little scary at first. Our feet didn't quite touch the bottom. The next series of waves came, and they were huge. I thought we'd made a mistake as I saw how they were towering over us, but then ever so gently we were picked up by a huge undulating swell and let down again. It felt momentarily dangerous and exciting, then fun, safe...relaxing even. We watched as it slammed the swimmers just a few yards from us who felt safer in the shallower water.

How often is life like that? Often times we  hug a dangerous shoreline that is giving us the illusion of safety. We fight to gain sure footing in the turmoil because we cannot imagine that sometimes in risk there is, not only the giddiness that comes with the unknown, but also peace in the deeper water.

We nurse our skinned knees and complain about them; we rub our sore shoulders,   yet stay where we are because from a distance the deep water looks ominous. Our minds find it impossible to imagine that a gigantic wave might gently lift us allowing a different perspective from new heights

How often are we missing what we long for and could easily move toward were we not blinded by the crashing waves obscuring all other possibilities? It is counter-intuitive to think that more control and not less may be available to us in such conditions. We take comfort in the fact that all our friends are right there with us in the knee deep water, it's crowded. We like that. We take security in it.

Is all we want out of life to hang around with our heels dug in the sand, our reasoning defined by fear of the unknown, settled safely in the patch of shore we've claimed? Are we going to stay there forever, or are we going to wade out beyond our comfort zone and see what happens?

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