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Surfing the Waves of Life

When friends who I knew as a young person ask what’s happened over the past 10 or twenty years, it’s very difficult to answer. None of it id difficult to talk about but there has been so much that has transpired. We still don’t have the time. Starting with what it is that I’m doing now seems somehow not quite enough, though it’s not a bad place to begin.

Today, I realize that I have more ideas of fun things to do, than I do time to do them all. I enjoy, and guess I always have enjoyed playing with things. It’s taken me a while I think, to get to a point where I don’t have to be too serious about everything but that like many things has been a growing process. I enjoy diving, (scuba, skin diving, etc.) I realize that I have the potential to become wealthy but for some perverse reason, money has never been of interest to me. I have for the past couple of years, worked at eliminating things – the stuff of modern living, from my life. I don’t think I’ve been successful yet but it’s fun to get rid of the stuff anyway.

For as long as I can remember, it is friendship that has been important to me. I’ve not always been the best friend to others. I have always valued friends – sometimes more that I should have perhaps. I have a great capacity for being a friend. As a result, I have experienced a gravitation toward people who value friendship in the same way I do. This is very satisfying. Our relationships are built on that valuation of what a friend is, more than any other thing. For a time, I was intolerant of people who built friendships based on other things, but now I find that I’m more open to them as well, realizing that there is often benefit in any case.

Twenty years ago, I was a missionary, fresh to Thailand from the US. I have never thought I had all the answers, but I’m sure that I acted like I did! Thinking back now on those days can be quite embarrassing. I’m not ashamed of those days – just amazed at how closed I was to some things.

The following ten years aren’t difficult to imagine – I followed the path that was laid out for me by the traditions of the fundamental Baptist churches that supported me. I should say that I mostly followed the path. In our group of about 10 to 12 families, I think I was always the renegade. I was the one who started the controversial things if there were any controversial things to be started. I couldn’t figure out why we should keep doing all the things that we’d done for years that really didn’t add up to much. And in those circles it doesn’t take much thinking outside of ‘the box’ to get you out on your own.

Those who rely on the traditions to maintain their own sense of security tend to feel nervous around me – This along with a few other things led to the breakdown of my marriage. Cathe and I lasted for nearly 20 years, but things really started coming apart around 10 years ago. There’s not much to be learned probably from that whole tedious experience but part of it is worth sharing. I felt trapped. From the start of our relationship, I believed that by living according to the creeds of the church, I would establish trust, and love, and security in relationships. What I found was that as time went on, all I established was a cage made of the expectations of others and that cage kept getting smaller and smaller. I didn’t have much in terms of patience nor understanding, though I gave it several years.

That cage wasn’t made up of expectations about my actions only. It was also made up of beliefs as well so that as I began to explore a new idea here and there, it was only met with fear and seen as threatening. You can probably imagine the cycle that this put us in – I would have an idea, or do something that wasn’t within the satisfactory code of conduct and on one side the response was fear and on my side it was a need to push things farther in that direction. I wasn’t smart enough to know how to deal with it. In the end, I wound up with Cathe and the boys in the US, and I had a few decisions to make – I had already decided to stay in Thailand but was still supported as a missionary. With a broken family, I decided to leave the missionary work and make my way working.

Since then I’ve been doing many things but all have largely centered on education in some way or another.

When we first arrived here in Thailand, I had come across a language program that really got my interest. It was based in the idea that adults can learn a language in the same basic way that young children do. Of course this interested me because I knew that I was a lousy language student. After one year in the program, I reflected back and realized that I’d just enjoyed the most fascinating learning experience of my life. They had taken my worst subject and turned it into the best learning year I’d every had. What if that could be done for everyone? What if it could be done for every subject?

That has become a theme for my life. That was also the first big wave for me. That wave took me out of my boxed in way of thinking about language and showed me something entirely new and different. How many other boxes were there? How many other waves to ride?

The church, and my understanding of God, cultural expectations, spirituality,… there are many. I’ve spent the last 10 years riding waves. It’s a better way to live.

Funny thing, but while I was young in California I never learned to surf. It wasn’t until coming here, that I’ve taken up a new sort of surfing, and it must be ultimately more exhilarating.

I believe that we’re coming to a time of great change and opportunity. The waves of change are all around us and they’re growing. I expect to ride them with great pleasure. I think that many people now are afraid because we’re experiencing things that haven’t happened before. Somehow, I feel born for a time like this. The old paradigms aren’t helping anymore. Yet that is all many people have to cling to.

What of belief and spirituality? For a time, I denied these things. I realized that our thoughts are the result of our experiences. That’s it. All of the things that mankind believes about God or life after death are predictable results of his or her life experiences. When other explanations were better intellectually it became difficult to have faith – at least not as before. But after a few years of denial, there has risen some other things that I cannot deny. We are alive. Everything around us is energy in some form or another. In that, we are all connected in a way the is both amazing and challenging. There are some things that we know, that we recognize, that are deeper than the mere intellect. One of those things is a desire towards love and unity in our lives. Today, we are being called to a higher calling to love that is not only spiritual but physical – and as large as the universe.

Today I am more open to others and at peace with myself that I have ever been. I find that others around me are strengthened by this, but also less dependent on me. In all, this is a healthy thing.

I hope that you will ride the waves with me – this life is here to be enjoyed!

This blog is represents the views and opinions of David – only and is not necessarily representative of any organization or affiliate.

Categories: life, society
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