I will start by telling you that my husband has wanted to try paddle boarding for a couple of years. I haven’t been against the idea, but I haven’t been sold on it either. It looks like you just stand still on a large board and row yourself around with a big paddle. Not difficult, but not very exciting…..
I suppose my distorted view came from seeing people paddle board in small lakes and watching them on television. Needless to say, I have discovered that it is not easy and it is definitely not boring!
Last week we were in the Caribbean and decided that we would go paddle boarding. Not on a quiet, still lake, but in the ocean with BIG waves and yellow flags! I’m not sure this was the best place to paddle board for the first time.
First, I didn’t just stand still and row around. Truth, I barely stood at all. My husband did somewhat better. We were all smiles as we lay down on the board and paddled out past the swimmers to the open sea. The sun was out and the water was a clear blue. We were excited and ready for fun.
Not until later did I realize how much my paddleboarding experience mirrored life.
We made it out to the open area and we were not alone- we shared this space in the water with sailboats, speedboats and Jet Ski’s. I didn’t really think about all of those big crafts at the time. I looked over at my husband and he had stood up on his board. I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing and stood up as well. Then a mere second later- BOOM; I was hit by a wave.
I was off of the board with a mouth full of salt water. I was thankful that I had a string attaching me to my board or it would have been long gone. However, I did not have a string attaching my paddle, so I thought fast and held tight to the paddle. I needed that paddle or I was stuck. I was coughing up seawater and my eyes were burning from the salt. Wow, this was not very fun. I looked over and my husband had flipped off too!!! I watched as he pulled himself back up fairly easily. Me, not so much. It’s not an easy task to pull yourself up, holding a paddle in one hand, on a board that is now appearing smaller than it did to begin with. Oh, and the waves were coming fast from the boats being so close by. I struggled for a bit trying to get up. I thought seriously about just holding on to the board and swimming back to shore. This was not easy.
I think what kept me from giving up and going back in was that it would mean that my husband could do it and that I couldn’t. I was not going to be defeated. That may sound bad, but we tend to be a little bit competitive with one another. So, I took a deep breath, told myself “you can do this” and pulled myself back up onto the board only to get knocked off over and over again. We repeated the same experience for about an hour. Only over time, getting back on the board became much easier.
Later, after we were safe and sound back on dry land it dawned on me how much that whole experience was like life. We start out bright-eyed and full of dreams. We see the sun and the crystal clear water ahead. We have no experience, but we think that it all looks like a piece of cake- nothing to this thing called life. Then, out of nowhere the waves come and knock us down. We don’t notice the “boats and jet ski’s” that are occupying our world- the things that create bigger waves in our life. Then suddenly, we are hit by a big wave and as we come up for air we are grasping for the paddle because it is our lifeline. Sometimes we are unsure if we can physically, mentally or emotionally pull ourself up again. We wonder if the waves will ever stopping hitting us and knocking us under.
When we are knocked off our board of life, it’s in that moment that we have to decide if we are going to give up and go back to the shore of safety. If we are going to give up because life is tougher than we anticipated. Or, we can choose to haul ourselves up and brace ourselves for the next wave. We can determine that we will not be defeated. We will not give up! We can learn a lesson with each wave that hits us and knocks us down and eventually, over time, we will be able to stand up for a while and enjoy the ride.
God never promised that your life would be easy, but He does promise to be with you. With every wave that hits you and knocks you under, remember that he is with you and will help you back up. So take a deep breath, tell yourself “I can do this”, “I will not be defeated” and get back on your board and ride!
Expections V/S Reality