Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Making Waves

Tom and I spent this past weekend in Zephyr Cove, Nevada where we lazed away the days on the banks of Lake Tahoe. The water is cold and crisp, but that couldn’t keep me from hours of swimming in the clear blue water. Tom isn’t quite as adventuresome as I am.

In my next life I want to be a mermaid.

Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer, and people all over the country did exactly what we did – they donned their Speedo, life vest, and snorkels, and headed out to bodies of water to swim, boat, ski, and parasail.

Did I just say “Speedo”? FYI, there is NEVER a good time to wear one of those skimpy hey-you-forgot-to-look-in-a-mirror swimsuits. But I digress.

During the off-season, Lake Tahoe is glass smooth and as still and quiet as a kitten’s purr. But on this busy holiday weekend the many boats and Jet Skis created thousands of water wakes and waves that literally pounded the shore with loud urgency.

Being on the lake’s edge made me think about the oft given admonition to “stop making waves”. I know people who would rather chew off their own toes than rock the boat of life. They are compliant, quiet, and courteous at any cost. Others take great pride and pleasure in raising every ruckus that comes along. For these people, making waves in an otherwise calm journey is what keeps life interesting.

Though the boaters created whitecaps and swells that rocked the swimmers and then slammed into the rocky shore, the wave makers themselves were unfazed by the rolling waters. They went about cutting their path through the ice-cold water – laughing as they celebrated the end of the hot summer.

Some people are like that. They zip through life, rocking boats, and making waves just because they can. They enjoy creating unnecessary uprisings, and they rarely deal with the consequences of their actions.

Look, I don’t want to discourage anyone from rocking the boat to bring about healthy change. Sometimes we have to make waves in order to wake the sleepers on life’s beach.

I want to make waves with a purpose. I want to rock the boat of apathy and create opportunities for dialogue, problem solving, and world changing. I don’t want to be a speed racer who tears through life’s waters with no regard for how my actions affect those with whom I share the journey.

I realize that some of you are floating through life on tiny little rafts and it wouldn’t take more than a ripple to knock you into icy waters. For you, simply asking “why?” or expressing an opinion that differs from yours is enough to blow the air right out of your river rat. You don’t want anyone rockin’ your boat.

The truth is, however, there are wave makers all around us. I want to be someone who rocks the boat of indifference, prejudice, and intolerance, and fights against small-minded apathy. I’ll keep my eye on the shore, and I’ll tend to those I might accidently shake up, but I can’t promise that I won’t rock a few more boats.

I do pray my motives are good and purpose-filled. As I speed through life, I hope I leave behind waves of hope, change, courage, and bold endurance.

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