Footsteps in Faith: Learning to surf offers life lessons

| August 24, 2017 | 0 Comments

Chaplain (Maj.) Brandon Moore
2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — To be honest, I am probably one of the worst surfers you will ever meet, but I am a surfer.

I have felt the exhilaration of standing on a board, seemingly gliding through the air while being pushed by a wave. I have surfed, if only for a moment.

I have paddled out and thought I was going to die. I have almost drowned, and have had water dripping out of my nose all day. But I haven’t quit.

Once you have surfed, it is hard to stay on the shore.

Dawn patrol
One morning I went out on dawn patrol (surfer lingo for early morning). It was pouring rain, and I looked at my coach and said we could just go out another time. He smiled at me and replied that we were going to get wet anyway, so we might as well go out. I was unsure and honestly a little scared, but paddled out and gave it a go.

My coach told me every time you get out, you learn something and get better. That day I probably learned more about myself than I did surfing.

Recently, I read a quote by Jon Kabat Zinn that resonated with me: “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

Think about it for a minute with me.

Consider control
You can’t stop the waves. Waves are like the ups and downs of life. They keep coming and are often unpredictable. They hit often, again and again. No matter how hard we want the waves of life to stop, we don’t control them.

Have you ever asked when will THESE stop?

Imagine walking out into the ocean and yelling at the waves to stop, as they keep crashing into you.

Realize you have a choice; you can learn to surf.

Think about what you can control. What would it look like to find a board and a coach for life and hit the waves with renewed focus? Rather than being afraid, you can engage life and learn the skills to surf what comes our way.

Life hits hard
Like my coach said, we are going to get wet anyway, we might as well go out. You will get hurt. People will disappoint you. You will make mistakes. And life will hit you hard in ways you won’t expect.

My challenge is that no matter how big your waves get, hit the waves of life and keep paddling. Get beyond the break.

Look to religion and spirituality as a guide. Find friends, mentors and communities to encourage you. Difficult challenges and profound opportunities will come your way. Don’t be afraid. Every time you go out, you will learn.

Maybe, you will catch a wave and have the time of your life.


Category: Standing Columns

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