Day 5: Quiet Days / by Jeff Tacklind

Mondays are my quiet days.  At least that is the goal.  And by “day”, I actually mean about a 3-4 hour window.  My favorite thing to do on Monday is to throw my board in my truck and head down to Trestles to surf.

Surfing at Trestles requires a bit of effort.  The walk alone takes about 30 minutes.  You can choose to take the trail that crosses under the freeway or follow a paved bike path, but both end up at the same place.  I’ve skated down a few times, but speed wobbles with a surfboard under your arm can be unnerving.

Besides, I like the walk.  Especially alone.  Especially on quiet days.  The introvert in me craves the silence.

Because so much of my life involves words.  Words to my kids, my wife, my friends, my church.  I love words, I love teaching, I love communicating.  But after too many words I feel empty.  Henri Nouwen compares speaking to leaving the sauna door open.  After a while, the temperature inside is the same as it is outside.  The heat has left.

Silence is like shutting the door to our sauna.  Allowing the temperature to rise again.

As I get to the sand my phone rings, followed by a text from the same number.  It says 911.  I check the message.  A first name only…who is this?  Then I remember the man I talked with yesterday at church.  I feel his expectations rising and the increasing need behind the request as the responsibility shifts to my plate.  But this isn’t a crisis.  This can wait.

Something starts to rise in me emotionally.  What is it?  Panic? Anxiety? Claustrophobia? I’m clearly overwhelmed. But I’m learning to recognize the emotions before they have a hold on me.  I carefully text back, politely but with strength, “I’m not available.  I’ll talk with you tomorrow.”

The fact is, I hate saying no.  It makes me feel selfish.  It makes me feel like a fraud.

As I sit discouraged on the beach I feel a nudge.  It’s as if God is saying, “time to surf.” 

There is a fun crossed up wind swell and only a couple guys out.  A few waves into it and I’m finding my rhythm. I keep splitting peaks with the guy next to me.  I surf until my arms ache.

As I change out of my wetsuit on the beach, waiting for the feeling to come back to my icy feet, I feel the warmth of the sun and the familiar smells of the beach.  My heart feels warm and full.  I feel joy, and with the joy, strength.  I savor this moment.