“If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people.” Romans 12:18 Common English Bible
First of all, surfing did not find its way onto my bucket list and certainly not in the freezing waters of the Pacific in California. However, it did top my husband’s list. Endeavoring to be an “all in, fully attentive wife” I agreed to conquer the Surfing Bug by his side, much to his unbridled glee.
Aside from surfing, the people we met casually on this trip were pure delights and several have become friends. But one individual in particular proved especially challenging. He was our surfing instructor, Bill. A native Hawaiian he did not possess the typical hang loose attitude but employed a rather martinette teaching style. He and I butted heads from the gitgo.
The first part of our surf lesson entailed positions on the board and advancing through the steps to surf standing up. The instructor drilled us to repeat the moves and quizzed us on basic board knowledge. During this time Bill told the guy next to me that he failed to stand on his beached board because he needs to get into better shape. However, Bill’s phraseology was not quite as diplomatic as mine. OUCH! The guy kept apologizing for his protruding belly. I felt bad for him.
The guys followed Bill out to chest deep water for part two of the lesson while I frantically looked for drinking water—Dehydration anxiety set in due to 90 degree weather in a black wet suit. This did not please Bill, thus he abandoned me on the sand. A Good Samaritan came to my rescue with ice cold water, enough to refresh my body and get me out into the waves. She even bought more water for each of the other surfers. I am forever grateful.
Gathering my courage and MJT (Must Just Trust) attitude, I waded out toward my husband and Jansen (Mr. Lose weight or else). Both men struggled fiercely to follow their laid-back leader. Visibly frustrated, Bill barked out phrases such as, “you two are suckin! Listen to me! Do what I tell you!” On and on his encouraging mantras rang out over the waves. And then it was my turn.
“Get on your board, Karan!”
Ok. I’m in half decent shape for fast approaching senior hood but put me in chest high waves and ask me to mount my surf board for the first time was not an easy task. I gave it my best but my arms were weak and I was terrified to grab the “rails” for any reason since Bill had given profuse warnings against that earlier.
“Listen! Get! On! Your! Board!” I tried again and He finally hoisted me up and somehow I landed on the board and slid back quickly before he yelled at me about my “position”.:( Normally I’d be embarrassed but my exasperation levels were mounting faster than I could fret over looking stupid. My angst even trumped my fear as I shouted over the crashing waves…
“I’m more afraid of you than surfing!”
Bill half laughed but I think he knew I was just as frustrated with his meanness as he was with my inability to follow his orders.
Ever encounter people like Bill? Type A personalities who seem to have no people skills let alone compassion? Usually they excel in a given area and they expect you to know what they know. When you don’t, you’re treated with harsh impatience and possibly contempt.
I learned a heckuva lot from Bill that day but very little about surfing. Here are just a few lessons:
I learned my “unconditional love” skills needed honing.
I learned how understanding and patience are deep virtues needed to teach in any area of life in order for your students to learn in a positive way.
I learned how important it is to speak up for what is right even in angry tones, especially to protect the innocent. . . true righteous indignation.
So how did it all turn out? My husband Dwight mastered the board enough to stand and ride several waves all the way into the shoreline. Me, well I DID stand up on my board but my accomplishment was short lived as I tumbled into the waves each of my 9 attempts.:).
Bill invited us with his surf gang for lunch after the lesson and we had some quality one on one talks with him. We made an unspoken peace.
Jansen and his Good Samaritan girlfriend invited us to their boat and we now have two new friends on the West coast. Great people. Jansen continues surf lessons with Bill.
Hopefully Bill will realize his demeanor at times causes extra fear in his students which hinders his goal to teach surfing with safe results. And degrading his hired help behind their backs is just plain mean and needs to cease. I continue to pray for Bill.:)
“Hotheads stir up conflict, but patient people calm down strife.” Proverbs 15:18 Common English Bible
Hang Ten if you dare and shine on. . .