If you and I were sitting across from one another, if we had coffees in one hand and were close enough to let our guards down with each other. If we could look each other right in the eye and see the hopes and the doubts and the dreams and the lies that live in there, right behind the green into gold windows of who we are. If I could say these things full of all the thoughtful pauses and comfortable silences that would surely fill our conversations…then I would tell you this.
You & I….we forgot how to lean in.
A few years back, Justin & I found ourselves on a boat in the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean. On the trip out to the cove we were going to, the water was choppy. Forget that, it was karate-choppy. It was Daniel-son standing on one leg on that wooden pylon with both hands in the air, man who catches fly can do anything, karate-choppy. And the waves of woozy washing over me were more wax on than wax off.
With each time the boat hurled itself to one side, I would go with it. Scrambling to grab for ropes and grasping for last straws, I was doing all that I could to just hold on. It was exhausting. It was scary. I felt like I didn’t have a leg to stand on. Until Justin leaned over and quietly whispered, “whichever way the wave is coming from….just lean in to that.”
We like to withdraw don’t we. We like to turn away from the waves crashing down on us. We like to give in to the tide. We like to do our best impressions of a person barely hanging on. Rather than taking the place that we have truly been called…Leonardo DiCaprio-ing it on the front of the boat, shouting “I’m the KING OF THE WORLD.”
See here’s the thing about the waves and the world. They are going to happen to you regardless of which way you lean.
They are going to crash down on you from every side. They’re going to rock you. They are going to roll all over you. And some days they’re just going to keep on coming.
The criticism will come. The job you thought was a sure thing won’t happen. The call won’t be what you thought it would be. The answer you’ve been praying for will still be a no. You might go out and give your absolute very best…and still fail.
I know, we’ve been there too. We all have our time amongst the tides.
But here’s the thing. We don’t have to be afraid of the waves. The waves weren’t put here to destroy us. That is never what a wave was created for. The waves are just here to take the rough edges off. To push and polish us into who we’re meant to be. A stronger version of ourselves than we ever knew existed.
Think about a piece of glass. There is pretty much nothing weaker than that. It’s as if it was born to break. That’s how it ended up in the water in the first place. But let it spend a little time amongst the tides. Let the edges get worked on. Let it get tossed around a little bit. And just see what it becomes. Hold a piece of sea glass in your hand and try to break it, and you’ll see the kind of strength I’m talking about. But more than that, you’ll see just how beautiful it’s become. How it’s a thing to be found and treasured. And how it’s softer now to others, for having gone through tides and trials of its own.
Yea. If you & I were sitting across from each other, I would reach out and grab you by your neutral-toned cable knit clad arms, look you in your green-gold eyes and tell you, FRIEND, IT’S TIME TO LEAN IN TO THAT.
Lean in to the version of you that’s waiting on the other side of the these trials. Of these unforeseen, turbulent, pressure-filled things that keep crashing down on you. That have knocked you from side to side. And washed over you in waves. Lean in to the work that they’re doing on you. Lean in even when it feels so heavy you think you might break at any second. Lean in when you’re choking and sputtering and gasping for air, and the words just won’t come. Lean in. Don’t you dare give way for even a second. Be ALL in. Push back harder. Let those sharp edges of yourself fall away. The broken pieces you were never meant to be anyway. The shards of who you only thought were supposed to become. These shattered pieces of a you, you only told yourself the world wanted to see. Let them all wash away.
Lean in. Lean in when the waters get rough. With everything you are, just lean in.
For just on the other side, there is a stronger, more precious version of yourself than you ever knew existed.
And it’s just waiting to be found.
You’ve got this.