Like most things, I never really understood the ocean until I experienced it myself. Now looking at this photo I am quickly transported back to the exhilarating experience that I had while surfing. It was during my time in this vast body of water that I learned some important lessons.
Before we began our surfing lesson, my husband and I went for a swim on a nearby beach. My husband was having fun jumping off the bit of an edge that the surf had created in the sand, and I was building a little sand creation with a flat top on which I was placing pieces of shell that were washing up on the beach. There were some amazing colours of shells, and even some sea glass particles that I discovered. But what I soon realised was that although the ocean was giving me these amazing things, it was washing them away even more quickly than I could grab them, and I learned that what the ocean gives, it can quickly take away. We noticed this too as the beaches looked different every morning after the water had crashed upon it over and over again the day before.
During our surfing lesson our instructor told us that, if we caught a good wave and had to swim back to him, we should swim up the side of the waves instead of crashing through them. I had an amazingly good ride on my first wave, and was making my way back towards my husband and our instructor when I quickly forgot what he had told us. I didn't understand. I had never been in the ocean before and this was my first experience with any natural waves -- let-a-lone 10 foot waves. The only thing I remembered him telling me was to push my body up off the board as a large wave approached me so that the water would go between me and my board.
I had been attempting to swim back to them for several minutes and wave after wave after wave kept crashing into me. I was exhausted from attempting to paddle back to them, and it felt like the waves were pushing me even farther back to shore and I wasn't going anywhere. Several times I laid my head down on the board in frustration, ready to give up, but then something in me kept pushing me to get my arms moving again. The last time that I laid my head down I actually said aloud to myself: "No! Keep going." It was then that my instructor showed up and towed me back to our spot. After that I remembered to swim around the waves and I had no more troubles.
I learned something important about myself that day: I had literally experienced that proverbial situation where people talk about not giving up when the waves are crashing down on you, and I did not give up. I learned from the ocean that I have a strength in me that I did not know was there.