A Current of Hope
I grew up at a bay in Washington State. That’s probably why I find boating in Puget Sound so calming. It’s like I draw my peace from it. Out there on the water, all the troubles of daily life are left on the shore.
During my childhood, I spent a lot of time watching the waves. In my little-boy imagination, I thought I could command them, raising my arms and yelling orders to each breaker.
As a teenager I played in those waves, letting each one lift me up as it passed.
"The fight was always worth it"
Sometimes, when a distant storm sent large waves into the bay, I would push my 12-foot aluminum boat, bow first, into the breaking four-footers. Straining at the oars I’d fight furiously to get past the waves as they tried to capsize the boat and throw me onto the gravel beach.
The fight was always worth it. No matter how hard the battle or how long it took, I knew things would change once I got past the third wave.
As a wave reaches the shallow shore it stacks up, curls, and tumbles onto the beach like some sort of roaring beast.
But there is a magic spot just behind those curling monsters, where the waves roll but don’t break. You no longer have to fight. You can row gently, just enough to hold your position.
You find yourself in a hidden current that few landers know about, and you don’t need a boat to find it.
If you throw a stick in the water close to the shore it will be tossed back and forth and eventually thrown violently onto the beach.
But throw the stick just a bit further and it will glide along parallel to the beach. There is a calm stream behind the turbulent waves. I don’t know if this is true everywhere, but it happens in my little horseshoe-shaped bay.
Lessons on the saltwater
A lot can be learned on the saltwater. It’s held many lessons for me, some exhilarating, some scary, but most beautiful, and a few enlightening.
Behind our worries, our fears, there is a calm available to us. Sometimes we forget it’s there though. Life can overwhelm us. The weight of the pounding surf threatens to pull the oars from our grip. Our arms tire quickly. Sometimes the pain seems too much.
But that’s when we need to row harder and fight the seething tide. The calm will find us. It’s not that the pain and fear go away. The breaking waves are still waiting for us. But in those moments when we’ve finally pushed through them, we find a peace to draw from.
I’ve been told that a gallon of saltwater weighs eight pounds. That makes a four-foot wave heavy and powerful. Sometimes the fear, worry, and feelings of helplessness our cancer can bring seem even heavier. But there is a magic place, a current of hope where we are carried along by our family and our faith.
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