Surfing and the Spiritual Life
One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to learn to surf. So recently, I arranged for a friend to take me out surfing for the first time and it was even more exhilarating than it looked. First, I had to figure out my stance and I attached the leg rope to my back foot.
Next, I was taken out into the water and taught a few of the basics: how to paddle out, how to read waves, how to duck under large waves and paddle over smaller waves, and how to sit on my board while waiting between waves. Once we completed this a few times (and after numerous wipe-outs) we moved onto the exciting stuff – actually trying to surf a wave. As I tried to catch my first few waves my mate helped steady the board as I tried to remember all the things he said to me: As the wave is building, paddle hard with your feet together, push up quickly, and stand for as long as possible. After a while, I caught a few small waves and even stood up for a few seconds.
There were so many things to learn which I never knew was even remotely related to surfing – the weather, the wind, applying surf wax to help you stick to the board, surfing etiquette and right-of-way, where to put your car keys, so many intricate details and an array of things to keep me interested.
I think the same goes for the spiritual life. There’s the exciting stuff, the Sacraments and a personal relationship with Jesus through prayer. And then there’s the additional stuff which is still so interesting which points you to the exciting stuff – The Saints, the catechism, the finer details of the Liturgy such as the Seasons or the Colours, various Church Ministries to be involved with, what Pope Francis is getting up to and so on!
I love surfing because it feels so good when you get it right and catch a wave, but when you don’t, you just pick yourself up and try again. The same goes for the Spiritual Life, if you fall over in sin, or forget to pray or damage a relationship just get back up, make amends and try again. And as with anything in life, the more you invest, the more you get out of it. The more you explore, the more you realise there is so much more to explore.
Pope Francis has declared this year as the Year of Prayer. Also, Lent is around the corner and Prayer is one of the pillars of Lent, alongside Fasting and Almsgiving. Perhaps you might like to find a way to connect with the creator of the Universe through prayer today. Surfing gives me the opportunity to be away from the busyness of the world – emails, meetings and being on-call, and I can just sit and admire God’s natural beauty. Give God a few minutes of you day to say “Wow”, “Thanks” or “Help”, or just sit with God in silence. Ride the wave of the Spiritual Life and God will take you to places beyond your wildest dreams.