Stand up paddling. The morning is perfect. Glassy water, sun glistening, the quiet of the bay since the summer visitors are gone. It’s September and I’m thinking a lot about how to move forward, to get unstuck, to be able to make changes that need to happen. Slow, and steady, gliding on the water to the rhythm of my paddle. Paddling alone in quiet waters allows my mind to come down and be able to find clarity with the steady movement of my paddle. On the left side, from the front to back of my board, pulling through the calm water, sliding down the length of the board. Repeat. Repeat. Switch to the right side, paddle gliding through, easy and steady. Repeat twice. This motion reminds me that this is my path. This an exact replica of how we are able to do what we already know we must, and how we get there. Make the decision, find the reason, do what you know works. Repeat. Repeat.
Things can move slowly, but if we do what we know is right, or what we know that works, and keep moving, we will get there. Slow is okay, and sometimes, best.
The steady, sure rhythm of my paddle is pulling me through the water, three strokes on one side and then three on the other. As I keep moving through the water, I know that if I just keep doing this, I will keep moving. I will get to the place I’m bound for.
In life, when we are overwhelmed by the unexpected, or forced into a painful process because of the actions of someone else we are connected with, this thing, whatever it is, can become our nemesis as we rise up stronger because of it. As we keep moving forward, refusing to allow it to bury us, instead we let go, move with what we need to do, and glide like a paddleboard on glassy waters.
There have been horrible fires near where I live. The smoke has been in the air, and very visible in the distance, and in the state where my adult kids live as well. They have had their cars packed and ready to evacuate. I’ve been so worried about them, and so many other things have been concerning and weighing heavy on my mind. As I kept moving through the water, I felt such a sense of surety knowing if I just kept pulling my paddle through this water, I would keep moving and how life is so very much like this. It was bringing me such peace and a rhythm that reminded me of what life should be like. I was reminded once again that I must keep doing the things I know work for me, that are healthy for me, to gain clarity and stay healthy.
It’s officially Fall now and all the summer vacationers seem to be gone. It’s morning, the sun is shining, and the water is smooth like glass. The bay where I’m paddling is quiet and there are no boats headed out to sail for the day. I’m paddling past the docked boats, still and quiet like a sleepy Sunday morning. As I came to the end of the docks where I normally turn to head in a different direction, I came directly in line with the side view of a sailboat tied to a buoy and something not common to see. The boat was piled high with cardboard boxes and items you normally wouldn’t see on a sailboat, like a bicycle and BBQ. Clearly these people packed their boat with home items because of evacuation orders. I prayed. I prayed that God would help my family, friends, people I don’t know, and myself, for many different things, and I turned left in front of that sailboat and headed to the area I normally paddle before turning around to head back home.
I was enjoying this paddle so much. It seemed to be removing me, for a short time, from feeling so weighted and heavy about so many things. I turned around in this little alcove in the bay to head back, now facing that escape-packed sailboat head on, and was I met by the most stunning and encouraging sight. Still hundreds of yards away from this boat, the sun was directly above it creating the most brilliant, crowded dance of sparkly diamonds on the water in a path directly from where I stood on my paddle board, to the bow of that boat. It was a huge path of dancing diamonds, and clearly a reminder of hope. Hope is the reason that we keep moving forward when circumstances look bad, or we can’t see how life could possibly be better. I pondered that diamonds are the strongest gem on this earth, and the most beautiful beacons of light when they are cut and polished. The work of hope. Naturally the strongest stone, reliably, as it is mined from the earth, but only sparkly with unmatched brilliance once the cutting and polishing is done. This takes time. So do we.
What can we do to manage difficult news?
- Accept that there are sometimes things we cannot change, especially events that have taken place.
- Let go of letting it eat away at us. Stop trying to control other people’s behavior or actions. Things will happen in life that we never expected. Accept what it is, keep our eyes up, and keep moving forward.
- Tell ourselves the truth. This will set us free. As we move forward, we may be moving away from someone, or something else. It will be okay.
- Keep loving and practice forgiveness, always, whenever possible. Sometimes, we still have to move away from someone even if we have forgiven. Forgiveness does not mean staying in a bad situation, or compromising our safety, health, or truth.
- Have hope like diamonds. We may not have come around the corner yet, in view of the sparkle, but it’s out there because the sun is always shining at 30,000 feet.