Surfing, as popular as it has become in recent times, still remains one of the most challenging sports to date. It was requires a unique set of skills not gifted to many and is only available to a fraction of the population – notable those with close proximity to a beach with swells.
As I continue through this journey on life, something has come up…the thought or idea of surfing through the struggle. Struggle, like surfing, presents itself with a set of challenges all of which desperately want to be overcome and only a few have the tools and resources to actually do it. When I think of this, I’m reminded of what it means to actually surf and the challenges that come along with the sport itself. So how do they compare?
Surfing through the struggle means:
Find the right wave. A surfer is going to sit in the water and wait. Waiting is critical, because its going to decide if all the effort to get out there in the first place was actually worth it. Finding the right wave is not impossible and once you find it, you know it and you take it. The right wave will allow the surfer to engage in contract of rapid mobility. It gives the surfer purpose and a place to go. In terms of our struggle, we have to find the right way to handle the stress and strife that sent us into the tumultuous life in the first place. Just like with our many vices, there is a right and wrong way to handle the stress we encounter. We can either a) fall prey to the struggle and find ourselves in the darkest of places or b) we can channel that energy into a positive force that will guide us back to righteousness.
Find your footing. One of the basic lessons in surfing is to find your footing and this is typically practiced on land and on a flat surface. Surfers learn how to “pop up” or the action of leaping up from the prone position to the surf position. In life, we have to learn how to pop up or pop away from the day-to-day pitfalls that if left unchecked could send us reeling off the deep end. Depending on what your struggle is, it can be the act of stepping away from the bar, or stepping away from a certain crowd, or turning off certain movies, or backing away from certain websites. Finding your footing- while basic – is probably the most difficult lesson a surfer has to learn, and not only does it take priority, but its the foundation of everything they do. If you can’t pop up, then you can’t surf.
Ride the wave. We found the wave, we pop up, now we ride the wave. Is this the easy part? Not exactly. Finding the wave and popping was easy compare to this part. This is part that requires balance, grace, persistence and patience. You won’t get it right the first few times, but with practice, you become great. With our struggle, we have to learn to ride the wave and like any outside force, its unpredictable, unrelenting and it does not form itself to our needs and desires. The wave is bold and at times unforgiving. It can be wild and feral and while its not everything we hoped and dreamed it would be, its still the most cunning of them all. At the end of the day, the wave will take us where it wants us to go, the trick is using the tools and resources of truth, support, integrity and prayer to guide ourselves in the right direction. Like the wave, the surfer has a say in what happens too. The surfer doesn’t fall blindly to where the wave wants to go, the surfer directs himself.
And if you fail. And with most struggle it happens. You get back on the board, you find a wave, you find your footing and you try again. Navigating life is never easy. Navigating struggle is even harder, but if its one thing that I’ve learned in 27 years, is that the hardest thing to do in the world is to live in it. In a manner of speaking, I get up every morning and suit up. I get on the board and I find my way into the ocean. I find a wave and I address it. The waves are always different and they all want to go different places but the only one that matters is the one that wants to take me to where I want to go. The hard part is trying to discern which wave is the right one. And its never easy. Even once you’ve found the right one, surfing it is never easy.
I know its hard. I’m right here with you.
Stay Victorious My Friends.