Lifeguard

Recently a friend was talking about the different ways we as humans seek to experience God. He used the image of people encountering the ocean. Some folks are content to lounge on the beach, enjoying the sound of the waves but with no drive to get wet. Others timidly sneak in to their ankles, terrified but intrigued. Some wild and crazy kids swim out to the buoy so they can play with the sea lions. (There are also people in the parking lot, or next parking lot over, but that was more to his point than mine).

I think I’m a lifeguard. I spend a lot of time learning about the ocean, it’s depths and details, and then teaching others about these wonders. I’ve been privileged to experience aspects of the water than many others haven’t, and have survived a few encounters that almost pulled me under. So much of my life is spent encouraging others to move in a little deeper, pointing out the beauty of that ocean, showing people new ways of playing in its waves.

As for me, I’m up in a chair. Watching to be sure people are safe, are having fun, are aware of all the places they can move along the shore. I am thrilled every time I see an ankle-wader plunge in. I rest in the sunset over the water as gold turns to pink and orange over that gorgeous blue. And I love the chill that rolls off the surface in the quiet of night, giving me reason to pull my jacket tight around my body and breathe deep of that salty air.

But I spend very little time out in the waters. I can’t remember the last time I wore myself out on a body board, or swam with a dolphin, or splashed with friends in the foam. I need to step down off the chair, trust the ocean to take care of all those people I love so dearly so that I can immerse myself in its expanse once again. Amazing things happen when I’m surrounded by that water. I’m ready for amazing things to happen once again.

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