Something New

"See, this is new." And that's just what we said to each other. "See, this is new," we as we struggled into our wetsuits. We had signed up for a two-hour lesson on a semi-crowded beach simply because we wanted to try something new -- something that we had never done before. Something new under the sun. And it was. It was all new. Every word to which we carefully listened was new. Every detail that our instructor "Huge" offered to explain the basics of surfing was new. "See, this is new," we continued to cheer each other on as we carried our boards into the surf.

"See, this is new," I thought to myself as I watched the horizon while lying on top of the board. Feeling the cool embrace of the sea, I knew it was my turn to try to ride a wave into the shore. "Paddlepaddlepaddle," I heard the instructor call as I pushed through the water with my arms. I could feel the wave craddle me as I tried to move to stand. And tried. And tried. And tried. And tried.

But, without feeling discouraged or disappointed, I thought, "See, this is new." This afternoon of being cradled by the waves interrupted my routine. I had dared to do something unexpected. I had tried to do something that I had never done before. It's all I could think about while I waited for the next wave to carry me awkwardly back to shore. I would try again. And I would fall. But in between these ungraceful rides, I watched the horizon and I remembered all of those times that I talked about things I could have done. I thought about what has been and how we always do it. I choked on my laughter inhaling salt water as I fell off the board again and again and again. I laughed to myself, thinking "See, this is new." And though I doubt you will find me at Higgins Beach hanging ten, I was reminded to continue to push myself to say "See, this is new."

When was the last time that you echoed the words in the wisdom of our tradition, "See, this is new?" (Eccl. 1:10, NRSV). I found my voice echo those words amid the waves. No matter how many times I fell off the board. No matter how much salt water I swallowed, I had echoed these words from the wisdom of Ecclesiastes. I felt that echo one last time with every grateful step I took upon the sand steadying my legs after my two hour lesson. "See, this is new." It was new. It was different. It wasn't like last Friday and it wouldn't be like next Friday. But, it had changed what had been and what was done. Perhaps there was indeed something new under the sun. Perhaps I only needed to take a risk to do something new to realize it.

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