Riding the Waves


This beautiful, haunting picture of my granddaughter Taylor evokes a melancholy remembrance of those roller-coaster transitional years of becoming an adult.  The exhilarating highs:  the dreams of all that could be, the insights, the loves.  And the breath-snatching descents…deep thoughts on life, loss and meaning, with emotions ripping through with a life and power all their own.

I want to tell Taylor that, yes, life is fraught with sorrow, confusion and loss.  But it is also bursting with discovery, beauty and joy.

I want to let her know that there is a learning of how to live skillfully, to ride the waves and not be pummeled by the surf.

That she has the quality of soul to jump into the water gladdens my heart.  So many use up their precious lives,days on end wandering in the sand, never testing the water.  Furiously running after urgent emptiness, numbed and self-medicated, afraid of the water and losing the miracle of a life fully lived.

I want to say: yes, damn, it’s hard.  But it is what it is.  Life is alternately wonderful and glorious and wretched and sad.  This is a truth that we don’t really grasp as a child and it can be startling and crushing to suddenly see it.  But life is a lesson that we never stop learning, unless we run from the water.  I say, swim.  Rest into the rhythm of the waves, knowing that there will be highs to enjoy and lows that have their own lessons.  To live at all, to be alive and engaged and present is a gift.  Fleeting and astonishing and not to be missed.