In Which I Hold Church In The Shark Infested Wild Waters of Bethany Beach

We’re at the beach this week. My hope was to do lots of writing while we’re here, but it’s not happening. I sit down to write, and either someone calls my name or looks over my shoulder or my mind starts going in a million different directions, leading me to want to run for my life. I’m not a real writer, but it seems I have writer’s block.  I’m pretty shut down. Actually, it’s more like writer’s clusterfuck. Is that a thing? Well, if not, it is now. A bunch of ideas fighting to get to the front of the line, internal arguments about whether to actually put an idea on paper, and if so, HOW MUCH of it, all of  it crashing into each other in my head, ending up in a big pile of mangled crap.

So, anyway, we’ve had gorgeous weather here so far, even if extremely hot and humid the last couple of days. I’m not complaining because it is August, after all. I’m taking long walks everyday. Sweating, breathing, praying, mind-clearing walks. I’m writing epic essays in my head that will not come out on paper, not yet anyway. Why does that keep happening? Maybe I’m not supposed to be at a keyboard right now, maybe I’m supposed to be outside. Or maybe its because of the way people fuck each other up on the regular, and I just suck at dealing with it. I have no idea.

The dunes have been built back up since we were here last. Lovely, sandy, grassy hills protecting the beach town I love. As I reached the top of the dune, I saw the mighty Atlantic Ocean at last. I was so grateful to feel the ocean breeze on my face, to breathe the salty and sunscreeny sweet air. The ocean was particularly wild yesterday, the humongous waves crashing powerfully close to shore. Between that and THE SHARKS, I had no intention of getting in that water. I’m not stupid. And also, I watched the video:

But then I lost half my body weight in sweat after planting myself for an hour in the high summer sun surrounded by a throng of people with their chairs, towels, umbrellas, coolers, buckets and shovels. So, I walked to the surf to cool down and found Husband, Boy, and my Dad on a virtual roller coaster. I watched in near horror for a few minutes and fought a strong impulse to scream my head off for Husband to bring Boy back to shore immediately. They were having so much fun, though, and Boy wanted me to join them. Nope, no way in hell, I thought, as I walked back to our spot to grab my phone so I could capture on film the moment when they would surely be swallowed up by the sea. I snapped a few photos, my heart in my throat. Finally, I was forced to put down my phone and at least consider getting in because Boy was begging, pleading, and plus I’d just peed myself watching Husband and Boy take on the mother of all waves.

It took me about 15 minutes to make my way out to my family because the waves were breaking so fast, so close in and with such force I couldn’t clear them. It felt like a metaphor for life. My life, anyway. You know how life keeps coming at you, smacking you around, daring you to get back up and keep going? You can tuck and roll with it or you can let that MFer knock you out, your head dragging through the sand on the ocean floor while frat boys run you over with their boogie boards. Boy kept calling for me, “C’mon, Mom!” and I kept yelling back, “I’m scared! I don’t think I can do it!” Husband was laughing because it just so happened I was surrounded by a group of frat boys on boogie boards as I screamed, “Oh Sweet Lord, SAVE MEEEEE!” Apparently I was providing them with some free entertainment at my own expense. Whatever. Church isn’t a building, you know. Wherever two or three are gathered together and all that.

I finally got out there after plunging myself into the water between crashing waves. I was roughed up a little bit, but I made it in one piece. Once I joined my family, my mind continued to race. I had one eye on my brave, adrenaline-pumped little boy, one eye on the waves and the eyes in the back of my head were looking out for sharks. You know if anyone is going to get eaten up by a shark, it’s me. I couldn’t even finish considering that possibility when suddenly I was confronted with the first of many massive waves and I just knew I was going to end up a quadriplegic as I asked myself a most critical question with only seconds to act. Over or under? Husband yelled, “Under!” and we all went under the wave, narrowly escaping an untimely death once more. Phew.

I love the ocean AND it scares the hell out of me, does that make sense? I realize I can be annoying as all hell in the way I’m always trying to anticipate what’s coming next and how to minimize risk. If only I could learn to harness that energy into something more, I don’t know, productive, enjoyable. But anyway, sometimes, even I need to take my hands off of the damn steering wheel and practice surrendering to my fears. And so I did. I will. Again. Maybe. Amen.

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