This morning I was back at my church for the first time in three weeks. It was a great vacation full of relaxation, sun, sand and surf. I missed all the faces that I got to see this morning and I just wish I could bundle up everyone I've ever loved and put them all together in one great big church.
On the coast.
Maybe in Hawaii.
So many people asked me if we had a good time, several told me that I'm tan, and one said, "So, I think maybe I saw a picture on Facebook of one of your kids surfing." He was teasing, of course, because there are dozens of pictures on Facebook of my children surfing.
Just like there are dozens of pictures here that reflect the fact that yes, indeed, my kids surfed.
Do you want to see one more?
No? Too bad.
My mom took the picture. I cropped it and made it black and white. I love it.
My dad got stung by a ray on Thursday.
Apparently it hurts. Like a lot. My HWSNBNAKAEF* was stung by a ray while we were dating. I wasn't there but he said it was horrific pain. He had a flair for the dramatic so I thought he was exaggerating. I was wrong. Come to find out, there are women who would rather give birth than experience the barb of a ray piercing into their body, releasing an excruciating protein venom. It made my kids afraid to get back in the water. It made me reluctant as well. We knew a sting would beach them forever so we weren't too keen on putting them in a situation where it could happen.
But we were leaving Friday morning and we didn't want their last experience to be one of fear. So Troy took them both out again. I prayed fervently for the protection of all three boys while they were out. Matthew and Garrett both surfed. Every time Garrett fell off his board he jumped back on with such speed you would have thought the ocean was made of boiling acid. Later in the afternoon, my dad went back in with them. (Again, I continued to pray that the rays would stay away.) They surfed some more, with Garrett still acting as though the water was pure poison, but seeming to enjoy himself while he was standing on his board.
Then I went in.
Notice how I kept my feet up? You know, just in case any rays were lurking around there just waiting to sting them. (Not really--I know they don't around at the surface.)
I read that every year in the United States there are approximately 1500 people stung by rays. That's a lot of people. One of the lifeguards had been stung a couple times, another guy told my dad that he'd been stung twice, the man sitting next to us on the beach had been stung before. We talked to Garrett about the fact that if he is ever stung, it will hurt a whole heck of a lot but that it might not be worth giving up surfing forever. We talked about fear and not living our lives wondering about all the bad things that could happen if we take appropriate risks.
As we drove back to Salt Lake on Friday, the backseat was fairly quiet as Garrett drew and Matthew played. Then, Garrett whispered through the silence, "I just can't stay out of the water." He's scared of being stung, yes. But he loves the ocean. He loves to surf. And he doesn't want to live his life afraid.
We got home to find this video from surf camp.
Walking on Water Surf Camp 2013 from WalkingOnWater on Vimeo.
The song is called "Believer" by Audio Adrenaline. It starts off like this...
I want to live this life unsafe, unsure, but not afraid
What I want is to give all I got somehow
Giving up letting go of control right now
'Cause I'm already out here, blind but I can see
I see the way You're moving
God how I believe thatI can push back the mountains, can stand on the waves
I can see through the darkness, I'll hold up the flame
Take me to the ocean I want to go deeper
I'm not afraid no, I'm a believer
And so I lose this life to find my way and come alive
They can try to deny what's inside of me
But there is more, can't ignore all the things unseen
Oh I believe I can walk on water with You, Lord
*He Who Shall Not Be Named Also Known As Ex Fiance