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Monday, June 8, 2015

School of Life: Lesson 1 - Paddle at Your Own Pace

Included in my thoughts and research supporting studio practice during graduate school are my thoughts and lessons in the School of Life.  I will attempt to keep up with this for the Lord has taught and continues to teach me many lessons this year.  By documenting them, I hope to share the good news, encourage others, and most importantly remind myself of the lessons that I have already learned - I often forget them.
December 11, 2014 - I joined some friends from UF Ceramics to take a trip to Cedar Key, FL to partake in some kayaking adventures.  This was to be my second kayaking voyage.  My first, was in Curaumilla, Chile where I kayaked the COLD Pacific Ocean.  I should have learned this lesson then.  I happened to "lose" my breakfast in the great Pacific if you know what I mean.  Not fun.  Well maybe that was a different lesson - one from childhood - don't go in the water for 30 minutes after you eat!!!  At any rate, I was going to conquer this second trip!  I tend to get a little bit competitive at times.
As we launched the boats in the water, I could see the destination island in the distance.  For a rookie kayaker, it seemed to be at least an hour away - not really.  My friends zoomed ahead and continued to glance back at me, "How are you doing, Paige?"  "Oh fine," I would reply.  While inside, I was a little frustrated with myself and I wanted to be further ahead than I was.  I was tempted to pick up my pace and catch up with the troop.  As I did, I could feel my body saying to me, "Slow down!"  I began to feel a little nauseated and was finally forced to stop.  A voice inside of me said, "Look at this beautiful gulf."  I paused and looked and the rays of sun were bouncing of the surface of the water.  There were birds swooping down and flying so close to the water that their feathers just gracefully skimmed its surface. "WOW!" I thought. "Look at what I see when I SLOW DOWN to ENJOY what is before me and RELAX for a change."  I began to paddle again, but this time with a different attitude.  I decided that I WILL reach the island when I reach the island.  Maybe that is not when my friends reach it, but that's okay because maybe it was that kayaking adventure that was meant to teach me this very important life lesson!
I viewed the trip as a metaphor for life.  We're all on this kayaking adventure.  We're going out into the open sea with nothing in sight of what could come across our path.  Through it we learn lessons.  It may be hard to learn them.  Growing pains aren't comfortable.  However, if you believe what I believe, we have been promised by our Lord Jesus Christ that we WILL reach the island if we trust Him.  Be who you are.  Learn as you learn.  Find joy in the experience of it all.  Are we to be diligent at this? Of course, but don't allow trying to catch up with the crowd get in the way of your pace and what you could be learning.  If you try to race ahead, you may get sick (if you're kayaking) or most importantly, you may miss what it is that God is trying to teach you.  His plan for us is individual and I can't expect mine to line up with someone else's.  It is unique.
Are you paddling at your own pace?
Kayak Cedar Keys!!!!