Our family is currently on vacation with Little Pink Houses of Hope. We were gifted the opportunity to spend a week at Mertle Beach taking in beautiful sites, warm weather and wonderful events tailored just for families like ours. Today we spent the day at the beach. We swam until we were too tired to move. We played in the sand, relaxed in beach chairs, and felt the heat of the sun on our faces. We are all now a bit red from playing too long in the waves.
It hasn’t quite hit me that we are actually here. I think I am somewhat distrusting of the good times. In the moment, I can soak them in like water to a sponge. But take me away from the action and a part of me braces for impact. “Can life be this good again?” I wonder to myself as I shift nervously on solid ground. Of course I feel so grateful to be here but I am definitely practicing how to let go.
A wise friend explained to me a concept that has been repeated to me a lot lately. “You’ve got to go with the flow.” she urged. Part of me wanted to protest her advice. “I’m sorry.” I thought, “You must be confused. I’m a neurotic over-achiever who is constantly distracted by thoughts of self-imposed pressures I have created by my own aspirations.” While I achieved a level of zen during my illness, now was the time to seize the day, right? I couldn’t rest on my heels. I had to make things happen!
Even though that anxious impatience has bubbled up lately, I knew in my heart and gut that she was right. To be fair, while my heart embraced her advice my brain still panicked. Oh, but the wasted time! The lost opportunities! If you don’t keep moving you will fall behind! My mind took flight with unease and I knew this whole “go with the flow” thing was going to take some effort.
Fortunately, life showed up with a pretty compelling metaphor. While swimming in the ocean today, I figured out how fruitless it is to fight breaking waves. I naively faced several swells head-on as I made my way out to deeper water. As anyone who has spent time in the ocean knows, rigidity against waves is not smart… unless you like getting pummeled in the chest with crashing force and losing your balance only to choke on salty water. I mean, if that’s your thing, who am I to tell you otherwise?
For me, however, the unpleasant experience of getting knocked on my a$$ a few times was enough to drive the point home.
Stop trying so hard. Go with the flow.
Ah, it made sense now. Working with the current and the forces of the ocean- forces that were much greater and much more powerful than I am- makes life easier. It’s not that I gave up. It’s that I gave in enough to redirect the energy to where I needed it. It was a lesson in efficiency and- honestly- grace and humility. I was encouraged to know my place in this world in this moment and for me right now, that is rest, recovery, and revitalization. The remaining pieces of my life will come to me in their own due time.
For now, I am practicing patience. I am surrendering a lot of my life. I am working on relinquishing control and embracing the flow. As wishy washy as that sounds, it’s a big challenge for me. To surrender control is at its core a very powerful demonstration of deep faith and confidence. Disease has forced me here before, but now I am choosing this strength for myself. It is sure to be a bumpy ride, but hopefully it is a bit more artful that spitting up seawater and scooping sand out of my swimsuit.
Give ‘Em Hell