Summer is almost over.
I can feel the summer wind decrease its warmth, and evenings are arriving earlier.
A week ago, I traveled on my first summer vacation since Covid invaded our world.
My annual escape to my beloved island of Maui resumed for seven beautiful days this late 2021 Summer season.
As I boarded my flight masked up and vaccine screened, I wondered what things would look like now with Covid.
Naturally, I presumed that there’d be some changes, and of course, not surprisingly, there were.
Masks and impossible waiting lines at restaurants fail to provide the spontaneous letting go and enjoying a meal at our favorite places.
Like the poke place at the general store in Wailea, I drove there eager for that one-of-a-kind taste, just to find dimmed lights and empty counters behind closed-off lines. It was gone.
It saddens me to see how things have changed and, perhaps truly, will never be the same in our world.
Accepting things as they were and not as I want them to be; was the critical adjustment to overcome the disappointment the moment caused.
The concept never eludes me.
To thrive in life, I must continually surrender my idea of what is and what things should be to the reality before me.
“Reality continually ruins my narrative,” I say sarcastically.
I have a story for you …
If you are the kind of person that loves playing in the ocean, perhaps you’ve heard surfers’ favorite time of year is when the “swell” is high.
“Swell is best thought of as waves that have enough energy to travel well beyond the place of their origin. It marches in broader lines and with bigger gaps between each crest.”
Swimming when the swell is high is a dangerous feat. I found this personally true the two times the ocean had its way with me and abruptly propelled me out onto the shore as I gulped on seawater and sand.
The ocean swell is a force to be reckoned with, no doubt about that now.
I came up with a better idea, or so I thought, that perhaps snorkeling would be more leisurely.
After all, I’d escape the surface and dwell on the bottom of the ocean, free from any commotion.
But you see, in my ignorance, I failed to think about the depth of the swell’s impact on the bottom of the ocean floor. Waves crashing and massive volumes of water stir up sand, and all becomes murky.
What an amateur!
First, I fought the waves to enter the ocean, visor in place, fins in hand.
Luckily, I got in past the crashing waves and beyond the shallow end of the cove.
I had been there before. Po’olenalena’s reef is one I’ve snorkeled before, so I made my way to the familiar place I’d long to see. The splendor of the reef with its bright-colored fish awaited me. Some things are worth the struggle.
The undertow was so intense I couldn’t swim forward, and it kept pulling me toward the breaker zone.
I was afraid and attempted to head back.
Let me tell you something, that was hard!
The stirring of the ocean clouded the water, and I couldn’t see anything.
Opposite my expectations, right in the middle of a beautiful reef, all I could see around me was a million tiny pieces of gold dust invading the water.
Suddenly, I looked down to reorient myself, and I saw the sun rays undulating on the ocean floor of the reef, flowing like three-dimensional little snakes of light.
Everything is in its place, I thought, but I just couldn’t see it.
That day I realized that the light will always shine through even when the water is unclear and murky at the reef.
Even then, the reef is still the reef regardless of the swell.
And such reef is like my heart.
It’s interesting how this is the perfect analogy of the hidden things of the soul.
Sometimes my heart feels like this, utterly unclear and stirred by the swell of emotions.
Many opposing waves crash in different directions, like faith, doubt, love, and hate.
Submission and idolatry, patience, and recklessness leave me dizzy and unrecognizable to myself.
When my feelings swell in opposition and confusion, I lose my vision.
And sometimes, it feels like I’m drowning inside my own heart.
In this stirring, I tend to forget who I am in Christ and believe the lie that there is nothing good in me.
I come to know without a doubt that the light of God’s love for me remains shining through the murk of my emotions.
Deep down, I am still me, same person, the same substance, just a little shaken and stirred.
But you see, the thing with the swell is that it doesn’t last high forever.
It is a seasonal and temporary condition. It will pass.
Just like my own emotions, they too shall subside.
Finally, the ocean had its way. Unwelcoming, I got out and reached the shore.
As I walked back to my beach umbrella, I could not get the imagery out of my head.
The light moved through in waves; I could still see them.
I can see it when I close my eyes and exhale.
Pause and think about that.