Zen and the art of bodyboarding by rocks in high surf
This month I got to go for a getaway up the coast to Laguna Beach and actually spend some time on the beach with the hubby. It was a glorious day—hot and clear. The surf was high, so I didn't go in, but my husband went in and bobbed in the incoming swell. It was lovely to see him so weightless.
There was a man with a body board who waited for waves just beside this rock. When I first saw him I was alarmed—some crazy guy, I thought—watch out. Blood and an emergency rescue to come. He took off on waves and rode them right by the rock, cutting in towards it halfway towards the beach to catch the best curl of it. It was scary! But my husband just laughed to see how wired the guy had it. When the dude finally got out we could see that he was a middle-aged man who'd obviously done this so many times he could do it in his sleep. To me, untrained in body-boarding by rocks in high surf, it looked suicidal. But he probably didn't skip a beat. The lifeguard just watched as if he'd seen it all before.
What makes some people take some risks and others enjoy another kind? It's funny, isn't it? I'm listening to Three Cups of Tea on audiobook. After a disastrous attempt to summit a mountain in the Himalayas, Greg Mortenson saw that the village he stayed in had no school, only a determined group of kids who gathered in rain, snow, and sun in a dirt lot to study. He decided to build a small school in this remote village in Northern Pakistan. Eventually he went on to build many schools. Nothing deterred him, even being kidnapped for a week and held in captivity by a group that suspected he was anti-Muslim and a member of the U.S. armed forces. He gradually won them over by showing respect for their tradition of prayer and explaining his great desire to build schools. It's an amazing story and all true. What gave and gives him the courage?
Where do these drives come from?
I have the opinion that we're born with jobs to do. There's a place for us in this world that we were born to fill, no one else can take our part. Whatever our religions or creeds, if we keep our hearts open we can find a combination of vocation and avocation that sustains us and gives to the rest of the world. Maybe we're to be stay-at-home parents and give to our families and communities. Maybe our call is to be a greeter, giving smiles and hellos at work and everywhere else. Maybe nursing is our true call. Maybe making beautiful things is part of our place in the world. Maybe constructing homes, or building roads.
We can never give up on chasing our dreams, nor can anyone else find our role for us. Only we can figure it out by listening intently to our souls.
This is the way we can give to the world and make it a better place, by being all that we can be and offering it. Listening to the sometimes still, silent voice inside, and obeying it. And when that voice screams, we'd sure better listen!
Just like the fellow I watched chasing the rock in Laguna Beach in high surf. Again and again he came close enough to be seriously messed up by the abrading lump of earth—and again and again he escaped in the joy of the wave. In some way I can't imagine but can only appreciate, he was fulfilling his destiny. And I was fulfilling mine just by observing him.