Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Swimming in Dark Waters

We spent a lot of time swimming in and around Kaanapali today. We were just up the road from Black Rock—a place I hope to return to tomorrow.

The other day I wrote about my need to deal with things as they come. I’m not comfortable with the “go with the flow” or “don’t worry, be happy” kind of mentality. It’s not that I’m inflexible—far from it. But when trouble comes, I’d much rather deal with the situation at hand, and then move on with life.

The surf at Kaanapali Bay was very high and unstable today. I’m sure there’s been many times when it was more turbulent, but the waves were significant. In fact, at one point the warning alarm sounded, and the swimmers moved closer to shore.

A particularly high wave marched towards me. I dug my heals into the sand and attempted to hold my ground. I was no match for nature’s fury, and the wall of water pushed me down and twirled me around—leaving me confused.

I quickly learned that when a mountain of water was bearing down on me, the best way to deal with it was simply to put my head down and dive directly into the wall of water. In seconds it would pass over me and the trouble would be over.

That’s how I face life—I lean forward, round my shoulders, put one foot in front of the other, and like a defensive tackle on the football field, I barrel into the problem.

I know how to change the things I can change and accept the things I cannot. I learned in the past few days that if I find myself caught in a dangerous rip-tide—an undercurrent that drags people quickly out to sea—the best thing to do is to swim out of it. Don’t ride the current and don’t fight it. Simply swim out of it.

I could stick around and say, “wow, this is cool—the water's all swirly and stuff”, but I’d drown. There are people and situations that would love to suck me under, but I’ve learned to simply swim away. It’s the safe and healthy choice.

You’ll notice in the photo I’ve posted of Kaanapali and Black Rock Cove that the blue-green water is particularly inviting. The dark water is where the rocks are, and it’s not always pleasant to swim in and around the rocks. However, the dark waters are teeming with life. It is there—among the rocks—where the plants grow and the fish live and play. I love putting on my snorkel mask and watching the fish dance from rock to coral formation and back again.

So it is in my life. The dark waters have sometimes been scary and are often filled with dangerous boulders and prickly situations, but the growth that has come from our time in those waters is wonderful and amazing.

So, I’ll keep diving headfirst into life’s challenges, I’ll swim out of the relationships that have become dangerous riptides, and I’ll look for life in the dark waters. Yep…that’s how I roll.

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