The Undertow

Last Friday before heading out for spring break, my boss Scott said to me, “Can you believe it? It’s already spring break. The last two months are going to fly.” My response to him, “I don’t want to talk about it.” Because I really don’t desire to think beyond the moment that is right here, right now.

The following day, my friends and I bussed our way over the Andes mountains into a small desert town, Arica. It sits on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Chile and gives us the excitement of sea level, soft sliced bread, delicious sandwich meat, and the best vanilla yogurt. We enjoyed falling asleep to the ocean waves, drinking coffee overlooking the Pacific, and hours in the sun.

Crossing the border..elevation over 5,000 meters or over 16,000 feet

Crossing the border..elevation over 4,500 meters, or almost 15,000 feet


My coffee-in-hand view every morning from our balcony

My coffee-in-hand view every morning from our balcony

A gorgeous sunset

A gorgeous sunset

During one sunny, hot afternoon, my friends convinced me to join them in the freezing waters of the Pacific. As I stood knee deep, I was surprised by the undertow. From a mere glance from the shore, the ocean seems to just be waves crashing in and receding back into vastness. But, where the water coming meets the water leaving the shore, a strong force, a push and pull exists. To stand in this exact place was complicated. Millions of sand particles are tossed about, water is churning, and your balance can be thrown if not for intentionality to remain focused.

In this moment, in the midst of this beautiful place, my heart ached for the ability to remain present in the remaining few months. A friend of mine recently told me about a friend who was determined to notice everything red while she was driving. Within only a few minutes, she had already forgotten that she was doing this. The distraction of the radio, the traffic, the landscape was real. Staying present is hard. We are masters at avoiding grief. Reality is hard. There is mystery in the present, a push and pull in the here and now.

And yet, the push and pull between the future and the past are meant to keep us in the present. There is grace to dream and get excited for a new season-grad school and a summer in Seattle and an admin position. And there is grace to embrace the final moments in this current season with these people I love; bosses, students, friends. And best yet, there is grace when the tension is too great and we jump out of the undertow.

So for these last few months, I ask you to join me as I pray for lots of grace. I will continue to sing my mantra I’ve been singing for months, a song of presence in this season God has given to me. I pray for patience and peace as I wait in the unknown of what the next two, four, even six months will look like. How we’ll live it up in La Paz, who will be our principal, who will take my position in middle school, where I will live this summer, how I will return in August to a La Paz far different than I’ve ever known. I pray for intentionality-to stand in the undertow as the water and sand swirls about.


One thought on “The Undertow

  1. I love reading your posts and often feel like I have been in a coffee shop listening to you while I read them. I pray for you daily and am sending a hug through this email.

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