We spent the second part of our recent vacation at Rehoboth Beach, DE, enjoying the continued hospitality of my dear classmate.  The Atlantic itself is an old friend who we have not visited in some time, though for close to a decade it was an annual trip.  I find ocean waves exhilarating but also intimidating, so my approach is cautious.  On this visit, the waves were big and the shoreline fairly downward sloping, so initially I tried to stay where the water was about thigh-high. Bad idea!  I was standing just where the waves broke. Suddenly a big wave crashed in, and I felt the powerful force of water simultaneously pushing in to shore and below the surface pulling back again. It knocked me down and washed me up on the shore like a jellyfish!  Most undignified and slightly scary.  Heart pounding, I laughed and returned to my beach chair.  On the next foray, I knew I had to get past that transition zone at the shoreline.  Out in water past my waist with a particularly large wave gathering force further out, I felt myself clutch a bit inside.  Then I heard a small voice saying, “Yield.” I stopped resisting and let the wave carry me.  Body surfing all the way to shore, I arrived rather gracefully. Yes!  This experience has become a metaphor for my life right now with emerging young adult children.  In the coming weeks, we will take our second child to college for her freshman year and put our oldest on a plane to Rome to spend the fall semester abroad.  We just completed our youngest’s first series of college visits.  This time is definitely a transition zone where the forces that propel us forward vie against the desire to pull back.  If you stand fast, you’ll get knocked down.  Grace is found in moving further out, flowing with the waves as they come.
Photo by Milan Boers via Flickr under Creative Commons license