This past week, had a relaxing four-day weekend at the beach with family. I spent a lot of time in swimming pools with my boys, but I also stole a little time alone to search for shells and enjoy the surf. In the process, I did something that, until recently, I would never have done — I went out into the ocean alone!
I stood on a sandbar in chest deep water. As waves came in, I jumped to keep my head above the water, and then I’d float back down as each wave passed. I played like this in the waves for a long time, feeling the strength and power of the Ocean, having a healthy respect for it without letting my fear keep me from enjoying the extent to which I could “become one” with the water and the waves. I even allowed myself to laugh after I got splashed with spray from breaking waves, lost my footing and fell momentarily, or mis-timed a wave and got my head filled with salt water.
As I’ve thought over the last few days about my moments with the Ocean, I’ve realized it provides quite an analogy for life in the modern world . . . a world in which many of us sometimes feel we might drown in the unending onslaught of tasks, chores, and electronic communication alerts.
The key to “survival,” it seems to me, is to find a way to let the onslaught flow past us without drowning us — to time our energy bursts to propel us over the waves without losing our footing when we land.
Of course we will get splashed in the face, and most likely we will occasionally fall — but we have to learn to laugh through those moments!! And sometimes, yes, it might seem we are going to drown in the onslaught — but we can sputter in the trough and regroup before the next crest hits us! We just have to remember to work with, not against, the flow of Life that surrounds us…
This Shabbat, may we each find moments to pause and regroup before next week’s wave of activity.
And may Shavuot (beginning Saturday night), at which we recall the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai, remind us that our Faith Traditions can help us learn to sift life’s possibilities, so that we focus on the activities and options that truly matter.
shabbat shalom, jen