November 29, 2014

Letting Go

We made it to the beach the moment after the rosy round of sun had disappeared under the line of waves on the horizon. The inflamed reds, golds and purples of the sky found mirror in the blackness of the expanse, turning the entire ocean into a tapestry fit for a king. 

We lost no time racing down the sand and plunging into the golden surf laughing like five-year-olds. Over and over we threw our bodies into the surge as wave after wave crested and broke. Josiah soon tired of the light surf and we headed farther out. Caught up in the moment with him, I was caught off guard as an unsuspected wave slammed into my body, tumbling me down with it as it dove to the sand. Choking salt water, I flailed to right myself before beating a quick retreat back to shallower waters. 

As waves continued to foam at my knees, I watched my husband obviously enjoying himself farther out. As a surge would crest above his head, he would throw himself headfirst into the churn and let it carry him. Moments later, he would emerge, eyes dancing and laughing.

It looked like so much fun. But I couldn't bring myself to leave the comfort of the shallows. I like the comfort of sand between my toes, I told myself. But I knew it was more. I like the comfort of control.

I had wanted it earlier in the day when I stood on a metal platform, harnessed to a cable stretching over a canyon in the rainforest. A cloud had been hanging over the canyon and I couldn't see the other end of the cable. The zip-line guide had smiled at me, "Ready? No braking this time. Don't brake at all. You will stop at the end." And then he released the clip and hurtled me into the cloud. Raindrops stung my face as I rocketed past them at 45 mph. The cloud opened and I could see the top of the rainforest hundreds of feet below me. The other end of the cable was still enshrouded by mist. My hands gripped the handles of my brake, fighting the urge to use it. The cable before this, I had used the brake and ended up making a painful hand-over-hand crawl up the last couple hundred feet of cable because I didn't have enough momentum to make it. This time I desisted as I flew into the cloud, cable screaming. Within seconds the next platform appeared and I was guided to a stop by the friendly Costa-Rican guide waiting for me. 

I had wanted control during the weekend of my wedding when the sky opened up and dumped buckets of rain during the time we had scheduled our photoshoot. I wanted to be able to keep the humidity from destroying my hairstyle, and the styles of my bridesmaids. I would have loved to keep one bridesmaid from getting food poisoning the night before the wedding, and another from having a seizure the night of. I would have kept Josiah from contracting a fever the morning of the wedding. I would have immediately created a second serving line to speed up my agonizingly long reception that half the guests ditched from early and I would have kept the frosting on my cake from melting.

I like to be in control. I like to know that things are happening the way I plan. That I can turn left or right and stop when I hit the brakes. That I can make the water cold or hot at my bidding. That I can tap letters on my keyboard and they will form the words I choose.

But the zip line was so much better when I relinquished control and just threw myself into the mercy of the momentum that propelled me over the rainforest.

And my wedding photoshoot wouldn't have had such lovely soft lighting if it hadn't been for the rainclouds blocking the sun. And I wouldn't have had the fun memory of being stuffed in a trash bag with my wedding dress on to hop across a muddy driveway! In the end, we were married and the beauty of the good far outweighed the few things that went wrong.

And as I watched Josiah playing in the waves, I realized that I would have a lot more fun in the ocean too if I just let go and let my body roll with the swells.

I think a lot of things are more fun when I don't insist on things being the way I want them. The hummus we made together the other night turned out so much better with 5 cloves of garlic instead of the 3 I thought it needed. And the zip-line adventure was a blast even though I thought I didn't want to go.

My life, my relationship with God, my marriage-- all are better when I let go of my desire to control. You know what I mean. You know how we girls have so many ways to be in control even when being outwardly submissive. We let the guy (and/or God) be in charge, but we use our emotions to manipulate what goes down and what doesn't. In the end, we get what we want and we think we're happy. But are we really happy?

As the gold on the waves faded into black, I waded out into the surf once again. As the first wave swelled up under me, I consciously relaxed my muscles and gave in to the power of the water. Instead of grinding me into the sand, as before, the wave carried me gently shoreward like a feather. In moments I was caught up in the arms of my laughing husband and we welcomed the Sabbath together in the dying sunset.

The words of the song lyric say it well, It's beautiful to let go.


  1. Oh, I just love this, every bit of it!!!! I am so glad you have been enjoying your time in Costa Rica, and soaking in all the beauty of love. Keep letting go!!!! It's most fun that way!!!!

    PS. Tralina & Steve had their honeymoon in Costa Rica too. :)

  2. I am so glad that you are having fun and growing together. God Bless. I love you!

  3. Beth... :) I could say so much but I can't - because words can be pretty cheap. Happy for you!

  4. Precious words and thoughts, Beth.
    Enjoy all of the new experiences that you will have as 'one flesh'. :)