Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lenten Wave #15

I've always found surfing competitions abstract. It's like holding a prayer competition. The activity is insular, dependent on what the individual surfer thinks is important matching what some judges, sitting comfortably under a canopy on the beach, think is important.  I don’t know exactly how you can judge a surfing contest, as what may appear to the observer as the clumsiest moment in wave riding is actually something of sublime experience to the surfer. As is a common expression in the surf community, “The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.”

I remember the first time I achieved a life’s dream of actually riding within the tube of the wave, the so-called “green room”. I lasted about three seconds before being crushed by the wave and held on the bottom as if by a giant hand. When I was done coughing up the water, something made more difficult by the fact I was also laughing with joy, I felt like the best surfer on the beach. The others, the ones who were able to stay on their boards, might have disagreed, but I know there was no one happier than I was. 

In prayer, we offer up what we identify as important to God. Like my style on the waves, I feel as if all of my prayers are clumsy.  Yet I always receive an answer. When I pray, whether leading a congregation, or with them, or in those few, quiet moments on my own, I know the happiness that Christians can know. It doesn’t matter what others think, or what I think of my spiritual abilities. God has granted me a way to know happiness and, with others, be lead to being the best Christian I can be.  Sometimes, when there is no one around to judge me a lunatic, I even give a joyful laugh.

- an excerpt from Reading Water, which I really hope gets finished and published this year.  Other excerpts may be found here.