There is something magical about going to the beach as the sun is rising, just in time for the dawn patrol. Even with a wetsuit the air feels crisp and cool, but the moment you step into the water your feet are reminded of just how cold the Pacific is. With a leap onto your board you give yourself a boost as you paddle towards the spot beyond where the waves breaks. Paddling into the first small wave you can’t help but taste the saltwater. It’s a great start to the day.
Now the waiting begins. The water is quiet and peaceful as your board rises and falls over small rolling waves. Scanning the horizon you look for the next set of waves that will take you all the way back to the shore. As the set builds, it’s tempting take one of the smaller waves for a short ride, but the energy it takes to catch it will either leave you tired or trapped inside the break when the real waves come rolling in.
Occasionally the timing is perfect and you will paddle out just in time for the next set of waves, but more often you’ll have to watch and wait for the set. When that powerful set wave finally comes in, get ready for a ride of your life.
Throughout life we are impacted with moments that are rich with meaning and significance. Regardless of the joy or sorrow that these moments create, it is our job to listen and respond. This summer I was given the gift of one of those profound moments.
On a warm August afternoon, my wife and I invited some close friends over for lunch to spend the day swimming in our pool. We were in the water playing with our kids, watching them one-up each other jumping in, and playing all the usual games.
One of the times my daughter climbed out to jump back in, she cried out in pain after stepping on a bee. As soon as I pulled out the stinger left behind in her foot, one by one more bees began to swarm. Thinking that the dead bee was attracting others, I picked it up and went inside to throw it away.
The moment I opened the trash in the kitchen I heard my wife scream outside. It wasn’t an ordinary scream. I look outside right at the moment she was diving into the water. Racing outside I was certain that she was being attacked by the aggressive bees.
I made it to the edge of the water right when she was coming up. My heart sank. In her arms was our little boy, blue and lifeless.