I sat on the beach. I watched everyone get in the water, jump on their boards and paddle out to the surf. I stared out at the old surf break where I spent years of my life. I smiled on the outside, but really – I was angry that my body was keeping me on the sand.
And then it happened.
My girlfriend said, “Come on, let’s paddle out!”
I instinctively stood up and headed to the water.
It’s not that I’m incapable. In fact, I’m thankful that I can do almost anything I want these days (on a smaller scale, on a good day), but lying on my stomach is still a tough one. Lying on my stomach with my chest propped up – even harder. Lying on my stomach, chest propped up and paddling – I couldn’t even fathom.
Instead, I got on my knees, paddle in hand, and headed out on a stand-up paddleboard to prove something to myself.
Each stroke made me feel – strong, able, alive, and happy from head to toe.
Four beautiful green sea turtles surrounded me. They kept popping their heads out of the water and looking at me, as though to welcome me back home. As though to say "good job".
After a few minutes, I decided. I needed to get off my knees and on my belly. I needed to feel the water rush beneath me. I needed to remind my body of what it used to do and how we used to do it. I motioned to my girlfriend that I wanted to switch boards with her.
Paddling was what I expected. Everything hurt. It was hard to breathe. My spine felt rigid, unable to curve the way I needed it to curve.
But it didn’t matter.
I saw the wave coming, paddled as hard as my arms could paddle, and that was it. I was up. Nothing fancy, but I was up. And that did more for me than all the doctors and all the medicine in the world. At that moment, it didn’t matter how my body felt, or even how I might have to pay for it later. I was alive.
If it wasn’t going to break me in half, then it was going to make me stronger. I needed to be there – in the healing waters, surrounded by friends I have known most of my life, taking it all in.
Let me preface the following pictures with this: Under ordinary circumstances, I would NEVER post pictures of myself (in a bathing suit, looking a little goofy) on the internet. But… these aren’t ordinary circumstances. These pictures capture life. And hope. And perseverance. And healing in progress. And that’s why I share.
|Amazed that I'm even in the water. Thankful...|
|Having a moment. Thanking God. Let's just say there were a few tears.|
|Paddling for my first wave of the day. I couldn't breathe. It hurt like crazy. Best pain I've had in years.|
|This moment was a pinnacle healing moment.|
You see, for about 10 years excuses kept me out of the water. Law school = no time; work = no energy; kids = no time or energy. How silly. Nothing puts life in perspective like sitting on a hospital bed, waiting in doctors' offices, being poked, scanned and x-rayed.
I know life is busy. You may be tired, overwhelmed and juggling more balls than you signed up for. But let me tell you something. If you are sitting here reading this then you have time and you have energy. Do something you love. Don’t let excuses keep you from living. I understand that life (and years) may limit parts of what we’ve done in the past. I am sensitive to the fact that some of you truly may not be able to do the things you once loved. If that's the case, could I encourage you to try something new? Something that makes your heart leap, your soul smile, something that makes you come alive. Believe me, I get it. And because I get it, I’m urging you to get off the sand. Jump into the water, whatever that might be, and live. You won’t regret it.
- Tammy and Vanessa for getting me up and cheering me on.
- My hubby for standing on the beach and taking pictures (I know it made you just as happy as it made me)
- All our friends on the beach – for watching the girls as mommy played.
Life is sweeter because of all of you. xoxo