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Sink? Or Surf?

When I was 20 I travelled to Calcutta to work in a street clinic. Not your average college-time interrailing experience for sure 😊 (Actually, now that I think of it, I’m owed an interrailing experience…)

In the 8 weeks I was there I took one weekend off. Not enough of course, but it’s hard to step back from such obvious need.

I went with some friends to a beautiful coastal village, a 24 hour train ride south of Calcutta. Soft white sandy beaches with a glittering ocean, although there were many warnings from the locals about its sneaky riptides.

Despite staying near shore, I got caught in a riptide. I had no idea until I looked up and saw how far I was from shore. I could see one of my friends (a tiny figurine) running up the beach to get help.

I was in a bit of trouble.

After struggling for a bit (swimming but travelling backwards), I saw a wave approach behind me. Bigger than the others before it. I laid my body out flat on the surface to catch it and visualised myself as a surf board, and I did indeed ‘surf’ most of the way to safety. When the wave subsided I kicked like hell to get the rest of the way and climbed out of the froth. My friends were ashen-faced. They had got even more of a fright than I did.

In recent years I’ve seen many memes about surfing the waves of life instead of sinking under them, and I’m reminded of that moment.

Sink or surf. In tough times it’s always a choice we can make. We just have to remember that another wave will come along to carry us forward, if we are ready to catch it.

Are you ready to catch the next wave?

Until next time, stay safe (maybe stay out of the Indian Ocean too).



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