Sunday, March 23, 2008

Beauty and Ugly in Hawaii

Someone died at Pipeline (a famous surf break for those who don’t know) last Sunday (March 16). I saw the ambulance go by as I drove out after Sunday service to surf at Alligator Rock and Marijuana’s on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. I heard the siren, pulled over, and let the ambulance (which was by then a hearse) race past me. I spent the next hour and a half surfing some of the most beautiful waves I’ve seen in years. Because of the direction of the swell the waves on Marijuana’s were double overhead rollers that, after riding them, deposited me in perfect position to see another break—Alligators—actually crash. The smooth, dynamic features of the curl and the way the wave broke, was like participating in a liquid dance. Back and forth, side to side, the water spilled in graceful beauty around me. I’d catch a giant roller then get a glimpse of a more complex breaker farther in without being punished for looking and getting too close. The sun, the wind, the warmth, the water all pointed me to a beauty beyond myself.

Then there was the siren, the ambulance, the grief of a family who lost a son, a brother, a boyfriend way too early in life. The kid they pulled out from Pipeline was maybe 23. He was a body boarder. The son of a friend of mine gave the guy C.P.R. but to no avail. For all I know maybe my friend’s son, a professional lifeguard, had to risk his own life to pull the body boarder out of the water! It was beauty and ugly in stark relief!! Isn’t this life?! One event, the death of a young surfer, points to the brokenness of this world because of our sin. The other event, surfing some of the most beautiful waves in the world, points to the beauty that can be ours in Christ. I’m unashamedly a follower of Jesus and on this resurrection day, I see the waves pointing towards the giver of new life: Jesus Christ. My wish is that he’d transform me into something as beautiful as those waves! Happy Easter.