Taming the monsterThings are often not exactly as they seem… or so it seems… It was something right out of a movie. It felt almost like heaven, or at least what I imagine heaven  might be… The Pacific Ocean breeze tickled the sizzling skin as it danced by in rhythm with the towering and crashing waves.

The waves collided with the golden beach – spreading out flat and low as it reached for the toes of the scads of folks soaking up the famous Southern California rays. Small children frolicked in the shallows, getting pummeled by the innocent looking surf. They’d squeal in delight and get back up for the next round… only to get knocked off their tiny feet again and again.

About twenty yards out, around the area in the ocean where the waves reach their crest, just before their denouement, the boogie boarders ride the untamed water speeding toward the shore and strive to steer around the wee ones there. All this while the seagulls are undeterred a few feet above the uneven surface in search of lunch.

Beyond them, between the end of the earth and the distant ships on whiskey colored horizon are the surfers. They don’t ride the sea swells, they catch the monster waves by the tail then crawl up their backs and stand on top of the monster waves as conquering kings and queens of the sea.

The bravest of the surfers swing around the front side of the monster wave’s head and dance just in front of it’s mouth, taunting the sea as they race for the safety of the sand.

The scene looks serene, peaceful. The manmade floating devices being pushed by the power of the sea toward rest and safety. No wonder the place was so packed… like a sardine can.

Against my better judgment, I decided to join the seaside soiree. The water was colder than I expected – made me shiver as the sweat on my spine turned to ice. The bottom of my feet found a sharp rock that almost dropped me… No turning back. I pushed and fought my way out into the surf as the waves blasted me and my boogie board with body shots. I quickly remembered to hold the board overhead and turn sideways to lessen the blows and setbacks toward shore.

When I did finally get far enough out to begin taming the monster I paddled toward land like a train robber gallops toward a caboose, grabbed both sides of the front of my board and rode the monster in. It spit me toward shore like I was Jonah. My legs and feet hanging off the undersized board scraped rocks and sand leaving skin in the sea as payment for its use along with a twisting dump that had me struggling to hang on to the board.

I finally trudged out of the surf in defeat, salt running from my sand packed sinuses… the monster unfazed and far from tamed.

That’s how many things are in this life. Things look fun, easy, and innocent, and we believe that we have the means to tame the creation… kinda like roping the wind… We jump in head first, believing or wishing for the best… The bruises, sometimes physically, sometimes spiritually, we carry with us for a time – the memories forever.

Like this newly torn rotator cuff, that should be a good reminder for a while to come. Me getting a grasp on the horns of wisdom is a little like taming that monster wave…

Maybe next time… Getting another chance to do things right is a gift from the hand of the Almighty, don’t you think?

If I can’t get a handle on the wave… there’s zero chance I’m going to get one on the grace of God…