This is about surfing… but not actually.

If you could do me a favor, I’d like you to imagine, as you read this, that I have a body like one of those girls from that surf movie Blue Crush… or like the super-model, Giselle. Yeah, Giselle would be good. Trust me. I just feel like this whole story will come off better if you can pretend that I’m sleek and athletic, rather than stumpy and jiggly. Let’s pretend I’m “lithe”, I like that word. Also, lets pretend that I’m a pretty good surfer. I’m not. At all. In fact, when I headed toward the water the other day, one of the kids we were with asked me (with astonished eyes), “Are you gonna surf?”


“But, Moms don’t surf!”

And I was like, “Well, this one does.”

But I could see by the way his 12 year old eyes were looking at me that he was doing the math: Body Mass Index x Cottage Cheese Thighs = There’s No Way This Chick Can Surf

Boy, did I show him!

Ok, actually, when I came out of the water, I asked him if he saw me “rippin’ it up out there” , but he said no, because he wasn’t paying attention and I was totally relieved because I was, in fact, not ripping anything up, but more like struggling for survival, and on very brief but exhilarating occasions, standing up on a moving surfboard.

Yeah. So, anyway…

I get the same bruise every single time I surf. Same bruise, same spot, same reason. Every time. I walked out of the water with it, throbbing along the back of my arm, this week. And even though it always happens, it still kinda surprised me.

It’s a good deep bruise, the kind that bleeds into the closest joint, making everything feel stiff and sore. The kind that reminds you, every time you stretch your arm or roll over in your sleep, that, oh yeah, you were surfing today… yesterday… earlier this week… You were on the water with your eyes stinging and your lungs burning off salt, and you slipped off your board into the sea -like you always do- and, as you tumbled under the waves, your very own board came back at you, above you, trying to kill you. So you put up your arm to protect your face and head from the fin that was racing toward your skull, and that’s when it got you, right smack in the same spot where it always gets you, on the back of the arm.

That’s how it goes every stinkin’ time. And this might sound weird, but I love that wretched, painful bruise because it reminds me of how I love to surf.

I love the struggle of surfing. You have to battle against the forces of the Earth just to get out past the break. You have to beat the current, and the waves, and the wind, and your own tired body, before you can let it all loose again to come together and push you back to shore.

Then, once you’re out there, there’s a moment of quiet. A time of Peace. Where the crush of waves over your head has been replaced by the graceful sway of the water underneath you. You’re just there, in that place where you wait for the wave that will pick you up, steady your path, and shoot you back to the sand a little faster than you’d like.

When it’s time, you can feel it rising behind you pulling you backward, upward. And then the fight begins again, to paddle ahead, to stay upright, to get up on your feet as white water surges behind you, and then all of a sudden… you’re standing, moving, surfing along the wave, you are flying free and fast, and you don’t remember anymore how hard it was to get there. You aren’t bothered by aching muscles or burning lungs. The struggle is over. The battle is won.

It’s not until your feet are buried in the sand again, and after you’ve caught your breath, that you feel the pulsing at the back or your arm, where the fin of your board laid into you, You can feel the blood pooling under the skin and seeping down into your elbow, but you totally don’t care because that’s the price you pay for the freedom to glide above the water. And it was worth it.

And that’s when you remember another price that was paid so that you could be free.

Today, I am reminded, whenever I flex my sore right arm, that we are commemorating the battle waged, the broken body, the shed blood.

Tomorrow, a moment of quiet anticipation, as we wait for what’s to come.

And finally, on the third day, a celebration. The freedom granted to each of us by the empty tomb, the battle won.

Now, I need to stop wondering if I’m worth it…



  1. Melissa Shaffer on April 2, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Glad you jumped the wagon. Needed to hear this. Shared on FB, 2. Be blessed, surfer girl.

  2. Kirk on April 2, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Another gem. Thanks Jamie!

    Happy Easter!

  3. Aydan on April 2, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Your posts are so great. I especially like this one. I think I'll look at my bruises and scrapes a little bit differently now.

    Thanks for the reminder that today commemorates the battle won: I always associate that with Easter instead, but tonight's sermon reminded me that "It is finished" also means "God wins!", and your post reinforced that.

  4. Rob on April 3, 2010 at 4:40 am

    Jamie, one of the best posts I've read on your blog. You had me feeling those waves with you … and you gave me a fresh reminder of this amazing weekend.

    Happy Easter.

  5. papaherman on April 3, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I am going to share this post with my wife who does Roller Derby.

    A blessed Celebration of our Lord's Resurrection to you and your family!


  6. Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary on April 3, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks for the kind words, everybody!! 🙂

    Layne –
    ROLLER DERBY?!?! That is AWESOME!!
    My husband and I met working at a rink in NorCal when I was 16. I like to skate, but never got very good – however, if you give El Chupacabra a set of quads, he'll tear it up! He's a crazy good skater.
    Thanks for popping in with a comment.
    Blessings to you as well!

  7. Sue on April 3, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Jamie, As usual, a great blog. Thanks so much for the true reminder of what tomorrow is all about.

    I love you guys so much

  8. rebecca on April 4, 2010 at 11:01 am

    YES ! THANK YOU! YES!!!!!

  9. Zac on April 5, 2010 at 7:55 am

    What an awesome analogy! Love the way you can paint a picture and then shift focus on something spiritual to conclude.

    Hope you and your family had a great Easter!

  10. Caroline on April 8, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Jamie, I love you and miss you. And we DO live in the same country…

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