Water Park Wisdom (Part 3 of 3)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

So, the final "Aha" moment of my water park adventure happened in the wave pool. I just absolutely love playing in wave pools and this visit was no exception. But of course, since I was on a roll, looking at each of the rides as a metaphor for life, I did the same thing here.

I like hanging out right at the point in the wave pool where the waves start falling in upon themselves and come crashing down on you. It is extremely difficult to stay on your feet and sometimes you get water up your nose, but I think its a blast. I really enjoy the challenge of trying to dive into the wave as it is crashing into me so that I avoid being swept away. But you know - it becomes really exhausting after a while! LOL!

Anyway, I noticed there were many people "riding the waves" either by swimming on the surface of the water or floating in an inner tube. These people were enjoying the ride in a different way by rising above the intense challenge of directly attacking the waves like me. If you look at the crashing waves as "trials" or "tribulations" that you might strive to overcome, this by far seemed the more sensible idea.

It's almost as if they had decided they would use the challenging "test" of the waves to their advantage and look at it as an opportunity for growth. They rode their wave to get to a new "place" in their life where the waters became much calmer and serene. And that is exactly what was happening! The people rising above the waves would travel much farther than the rest of us who were left struggling and fighting just to stay in place.

It made me think of how many times in my life I have stubbornly refused to see the tests and challenges in my life as opportunities for growth. Instead I defiantly fight tooth and nail striving to maintain the status quo; scared and fearful to change and grow or move to a new place in life. It really can become exhausting fighting the "waves" all the time, feeling like you have to stay on your feet at all costs. Lately I have been striving to have more faith, to "Let go and let God" and ride the waves more often and this "Aha" moment was a nice reminder.

Do you look at the trials and tribulations of life as opportunities for growth? Or do you become bitter and resentful for having to face them? Do you find ways to use tests and difficulties to help you reach new levels of insight and spirituality? Or do you rebelliously fight against things thrown your way until you're exhausted and emotionally spent?

Here are some quotes from some of the Holy Scriptures of different world religions on this topic. As always please share your thoughts and any quotes that are meaningful to you.

"The mind and spirit of man advance when he is tried by suffering. The more the ground is ploughed the better the seed will grow, the better the harvest will be. Just as the plough furrows the earth deeply, purifying it of weeds and thistles, so suffering and tribulation free man from the petty affairs of this worldly life until he arrives at a state of complete detachment. His attitude in this world will be that of divine happiness. Man is, so to speak, unripe: the heat of the fire of suffering will mature him. Look back to the times past and you will find that the greatest men have suffered most." (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 178)

"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (King James Bible, Romans 5:3-5)

"We have sent already unto peoples that were before thee, and We visited them with tribulation and adversity, in order that they might grow humble." (The Qur'an (Pickthall tr),Sura 6)

"In thy sorrow, in affliction, ever deeper lessons learn,
Righteous be your life in exile, happy be your safe return,
May these eyes again behold thee in Hastina's ancient town,
Conqueror of earthly trials, crowned with virtue's heavenly crown!" (Hindu, Mababharata (R. Dutt, abridged tr))

"O SON OF MAN! The true lover yearneth for tribulation even as doth the rebel for forgiveness and the sinful for mercy." (Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)


Melody Manwaring said...

Oh, Justin. I cannot tell you how much it meant to read this post today. I have learned the truth of what you said over and over in my life. Still, here I am in the midst of another serious trial and I had forgotten that I need to do just what you said, "let go and let god"; not fight to maintain the status quo. Thanks for the reminder which I hope will allow me to weather the current storm with more grace.

I am also impressed with the universality of the truth behind what you wrote. Thank-you for sharing your insights with us.

K said...

Ride the wave into the next part of life.

There's been a lot of changes that I am going through physically and emotionally and sometimes I fight it and dwell on it. I end up feeling worse than when I originally started. This afternoon I had my own 'aha' moment regarding some of the issues and it helped put my worries into perspective. I reminded myself again that there are times that I make the issue bigger than it is by constantly analyzing and then over analyzing the situation. Being detailed and analytical in my life has been beneficial, but can also be draining and may hinder my growth. I know that I can get stuck in a rut and end up "fighting the waves". I also know there are times that I am okay fighting a wave especially if I know I am not ready to get to the other side, but as time goes on, I fight less and embrace more.

This was another good blog and
"life embracing" reminder. Thanks for sharing again JJ!

Anonymous said...

sometimes diving in helps us learn and get strong. Sometimes riding the wave can take us farther.
I think both approaches are equally beneficial.

Justin Johnson said...

Thank you all for your comments! I love it when we can actually have a little discussion on here.

I think we each go thru all kinds of challenges in our lives that sometimes it can just seem like too much. I can only imagine what each of you have been through and may still be going through. As you can only imagine what I've been through.

But what I do know is that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Life has shown me that much.

What I try to do is to live by the idea "Be generous in propserity and thankful in adversity". And I do think there are opportunities in everything that life throws at us. Sometimes we need to rise to the challenge and other times we just need to go with the flow.

Problem is identifying which is which.

Janet Collins said...

Yet another great read on this Sunday afternoon my friend! I have been that person, standing my ground, being stubborn and fighting the battle of those waves until I am so exhausted that I really have no other choice but to "let go and let God". Each time that this has happened in my life I like to think back at past trials and tribulations and remember how hard I made things for myself because I made the choice to be stubborn. In a way, I basically told God "God, I'm not so sure I trust where you will take me so I'm going to keep fighting this and doing this on my own." I have become more wise over the years and have learned that it's nothing BUT trust and faith that bring a calm to the storm... jump on the raft, which is in His arms, and trust that you will get where HE needs you to go... peacefully!

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