I Know I’m Alive When…

Warning: This post is NOT drama free and is only as deep and meaningful as you make it.

Just got back from the beach. And yes, it was another beautiful day in Hawaii. I went to surf with my family but sat along the shore for about 15 minutes. I wish I could say I was contemplating deep, spiritual, and philosophic thoughts but I can’t ’cause I wasn’t. What I was doing was sitting on the sand watching the waves roll in because I was – cold. There. I said it. Cold as in not warm, as in brrrrrr…I couldn’t motivate myself to get off the sand and into the water. So I sat there. And contemplated. And thought.

One of my sons, Micah, was already in the water, catching waves, braving the icy chill of the noon time Pacific ocean. He’s always been the first in, last out boy. The other was contemplating the uh, conditions, with me.

Two things pushed me past the cold. It wasn’t the waves because the conditions weren’t that great (in fact, if I really had gone to surf I would’ve turned around and gone home instead). The first thing was that I had come to surf with my two boys, to be in the water, hang out, spend some time together. They’re both getting older and pretty soon I’ll be going to the same beach but surfing alone. I want to receive this day as the gift it is. Being and wanting to be “being,” both physically and spiritually in that moment, pushed me past my warm, comfortable spot on the sand.

The second reason I got in the water was that I recalled, simply and profoundly, my mortality. Not only are my days of surfing with my teen-aged sons quickly passing, but my own days of physically being able to get out in the water and surf are measured. I turned to the “contemplative” son next to me and said, “I’m going out and I’m going to relish in the cold! I’m going to savor each moment of that initial, icy plunge because this is how I know I’m alive! I can feel. I want to feel. I’m going out in that water and I will feel because I’m alive.”

No joke. I’m not kidding or making this up. This is what was going through my brain and what we were talking about. A little dramatic? Maybe. (More like a little traumatic for my boy but he’s used to it…) He raised one eyebrow, grinned at me, rose to his feet and moved to stand at the shore beside me. When that first touch of cold blue hit my feet I slowed, but only for a moment. Then I grinned, raised my one eyebrow, turned my face out to the sea, and keeping with the spirit of the moment, embraced the drama by yelling “I’m alive!” as I plunged into the waves.

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