You Never Know What the Day May Bring….Zebras and Medals Included

My friend invited me for a morning swim. I had thrown in my goggles along with my dancing shoes on this 2-month trek, so I was thrilled to justify my bulging suitcase.

In the evening I was invited/informed that I was being registered in an open water swim competition in a couple of days. I’ve never done lake swimming…. nor competed as an adult. But sure.

On Sunday I jumped in a lake with a whole line-up of ladies—all swimming to be seeded for the World’s Largest Open Water Swim Event. Of course.

My friend later confessed that she had to declare me as an “International Athlete” in order for me to participate. But sure.

I was all in…because…it was hosted at the Heia Safari…with zebras looking on! Zebras! I was willing to be the world’s worst “International Athlete” if I got to see zebras!

Let’s just say I didn’t break any records, but had great fun. And zebras did cheer us on—even if there was a bit of flailing on my part. They were gracious and didn’t draw attention to it. And at the end of the day, I had a medal and pictures to prove that life can take the most surprising of twists.

When I think about my foray into swimming teamed with the exotic spectators, I can’t help but be hopeful. There are so any things I am longing for—plot twists I have desired for years…edging on decades.

Swim medals and zebras do emotional judo on my questions: “When will change come? How does hope turn into reality?

It orients me to possibility. It entices me to spy out sacred encounters. It reminds me that you never know what the day may bring.

Can’t resist the question: What surprising twists have you experienced in your story recently?

Cheers to Shark Rejection

I’m attempting to learn how to surf.  With my less-than-evolved motor skills, let’s just say you may not see me on the surf circuit anytime soon. But I am having a blast; those seconds standing up on the board are pure magic!

At the beginning of my surf lesson—before even touching the board—I learned about shark flags. Today the shark flag is black—meaning low visibility, but no sharks spotted. I also learned that I would be surfing in the world’s most densely populated area of great white sharks. (I may not be stellar surfer, but I quickly excelled in memorizing the shark flags.)

However, I also was informed that shark attacks in Muizenberg are extremely rare. Apparently sharks have little interest in us humans. And I have never loved the words more “he’s just that in to you.”

This shark ambivalence has me thinking about other encouraging rejections—whether it’s potentially harmful relationships, scams I’ve been protected from, or jobs that could have sucked the life out of me. I suspect I have swam in the waters with many a proverbial great white shark and not even known it.

But I’m more curious about what I’ll need to reject this year—what must I express ambivalence towards? Currently I’m in the midst of a transition—no job, no permanent address, no idea what’s next.

Perhaps I’ll have to say No to a job with enticing pay and soul-killing work. I will likely have to reject panic, when subversive thoughts try to tell me my identity and worth are linked into my job title (or lack of one).  And I suspect I’m going to have to give despair and distrust of God’s goodness the boot—more than once–in the midst of this transitional time.

However, I believe when we have a keener sense of what to reject we are all the more free to embrace the beautiful and noble surprises that come our way.

Can’t resist the question: What shark-rejections are you grateful for at the moment? What healthy rejections are you anticipating this year?

PS – Surf update: I had such fun learning–slowly, slowly adding a couple of seconds up on the board. As  I left Muizenberg the red shark flag was up. A shark had just been spotted…but he too just wasn’t that into us humans. Can’t wait to try surfing again!

 

 

Cheeky.

I’ve fallen in love with the word “cheeky.” It’s a much more elegant word than “embarrassed,” and it has liberated me to ask the most audacious things while in South Africa.

By simply saying, “I have a cheeky question…” or “I have a cheeky request…” I have suddenly gotten into closed vineyards, reservation only restaurants, and 5 star hotel pools. Strangers escort me places, take pictures for me, and tell me stories their dear friends barely know.

My South African friend says I get away with it because I’m American…and people expect audacity from us. But I don’t think I’d never ask so much if I hadn’t discovered the word “cheeky” and embraced it!

Cheers to the power of a word…and seizing permission to take it to audacious limits!

Squat.

I eye a dad with his little daughter across the lawn as I sip my tea at the Mount Nelson hotel. He is likely a bank executive or businessman, someone of power. His toddler rolls her little ball and he can’t help but squat to see what she sees. Joy draws him down to her level.

I love how kids beckon you to change perspective, to see the ordinary anew, to become lost in wonder, even if only for a moment.

Squat. What a beautiful act of love.

Can’t resist the question: Currently, who has you bending low or standing tall to see anew?

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