Audrey woke me up this morning. I climbed out of bed, still half asleep, and she began gushing about how she stayed up all night and V, a boy that was here all night, made French toast bagels. My sister added that there was a full pot of coffee. Feeling slightly awake already, I padded to our kitchen, grabbed a French toast bagel, made myself a cup of coffee, and went outside to smoke a cigarette. The porch was messy. Dozens of pencils, markers, and drawling paper lay on the ground. Audrey and Megs had been drawling blind contours all night. Cigarette ash dotted the floor like sand on the beach. I curled up in a chair that I had rescued from the dumpster, lit a cigarette, and contemplated if I should go surfing before work. A breeze flowed through the porch, playing with the wind chimes, causing whimsical music. I looked at the palm tree straining against the mesh of our porch, contrasted against a clear blue sky and my mind was made up. After quickly throwing on a bathing suit and grabbing the surfboard in the backyard, I headed out to go surfing.
It was about 2 ½ blocks to the beach from our house; my face was already covered in sweat before my feet touched the road. The walk to the beach was short, and as I climbed the steps to the walkway, I saw the beach. It was only 9:30 in the morning so there were not that many tourists awake yet, and only a few locals were enjoying the peaceful day. I dropped my bag and clothes right next to a man and his grandson, who lived a few houses away from me, who were sitting in plastic chairs contemplating the ocean. I gave them a quick smile, wrapped the leash around my right ankle and headed out. The water was green in the morning light, and sun cascaded into the water, making it look like every wave was covered in thousands of precious diamonds. As soon as I stepped into the water, I felt my body relax, and my heart or soul, or something inside of me instantly healed. Surfing has that power.
The waves were breaking pretty close to shore; so it didn’t take me long to paddle out. Sitting on my surfboard, waiting for a good wave to come made me feel small. The ocean looked endless to me and I felt powerless as I looked at the emptiness around me, and yet, I felt peace. I felt peace wrap around me and I knew I was safe. Surfing is the most amazing thing I have experienced so far in my life. This activity gives you the ability to take a ride on something untamable. Even the wildest horse can be broken, but no one can tame the ocean. You have the ability to ride on water, to maneuver a wave. Sometimes, when I surf and take the time to think about these things, I realize that to me, surfing is a religious experience. It is communication between myself, and God. I am constantly saying thank you. Thank you for the ocean, for waves, for surfboards, for my body, for my ability to be able to stand up and ride a wave. Even when the waves are so-so, like today, I still feel a deep sense of gratitude towards the Creator who made the waves and me.
It doesn’t feel real that I get to call the ocean my home for a month. Sometimes I have to ask myself, “Is this real? Is this really my life?” This was what was running through my head when I spotted the dolphin. Just a little peak, a little bob from the water. I went further out. And before I could start to search for more, they surrounded me. There were dozens of dolphins weaving in and out of the water, dolphins leaping in the air, swimming in circles, calling to each other. They were so close that I could have reached out and touched one. And I sat on my surfboard, giggling like a ten year old, pointing and exclaiming at each dolphin. The dolphins smiled at me and I waved. Then, I decided to surf a wave in, a man told me later that that a dolphin surfed in with me. It was absolute magic. Ten minutes of pure unbridled joy and magic. You can’t go to SeaWorld and see a dolphin show, or Marine land and swim with dolphins and replicate my experience. Wild dolphins, in the ocean, while you’re in the middle of a religious experience, while surfing, and without and direction, they approach you. They play; they dance, not because they are being told, but because they want to.
Thinking about that morning makes me cry because God has blessed me with so much already, and for Him to let me experience that as well, there are just no words that I can string together to accurately express what I feel. But, I feel like God was showing me something that morning, or telling me something. That He loves me. He loves to see me surf, and stand in awe of His creation; He loves to fill me with wonder. God laughs when he sees me giggling, and playing with the dolphins. But God loves that I love Him, we would still love me if I didn’t love Him, but I am sure that He is overwhelmed by my love just as I am for His. God pushed me, somehow, to go surfing that morning, at that time, in that place, and something magical happened, something that I will remember for my whole life. It was a beautiful gift.