Sunday, February 22, 2009

Quiet reflection on the water

There are many professions which have high stress levels, law enforcement being one of them. One of my past times to relax and get things back into perspective (not that riding a motorcycle all day is stressful) is sea kayaking. I'm fortunate enough to live close to the water.

So today I decided to complete one of my new years resolutions by sea kayaking in the rain. I launched at a local cove and noticed that there was nothing really separating the gray waters and the gray skies. While I paddled away from the shore, the surface of the water was smooth with little or no wind present.

I paddled to a local beach about 2 miles away, beached the boat and sat on a wooden table as I looked out toward the water. The only boats I saw on the water other than mine was a tug boat headed outbound. After a quick break, I launched back into the gray waters.

The tide was heading out so after paddling out away from the shore, I stopped paddling and drifted with the tide. It had been raining lightly the entire time I had been out on the water.

As I drifted with the out going tide, I laid my paddle across the cockpit of my kayak and watched the numerous water fowl paddling along and occasionally diving beneath the waters surface. When you get far enough from the shore, the silence is deafening. The only audible sounds were the occasional cry of sea gulls and the pattering of rain on the deck of my kayak, my paddling jacket and the waters surface.

I watched the ringlets of ripples caused by the countless rain drops which had fallen from the sky. As some of the rain drops landed on the water, I noticed these small pearl spheres dancing on the water's surface just before being absorbed into that dark mass of liquid.

I don't know what causes that, maybe because the brackish water is heavier than fresh water and momentarily allows what used to be a rain drop to float along the surface before disappearing.

While drifting with the tide I looked around me. The hillsides are once again green, greatly contrasting my gray surroundings and even on a gray, rainy day there are wonderful things to see if you open your eyes.

I thought to myself, despite the crap that people in our profession experience, and deal with, life is what you make of it. Even in these difficult times all is not doom and gloom. I'm a firm believer in destiny or however you want to word it. I've always believed that events in our lives happen for a reason. While we may not understand why these events happen at the time, the answer eventually finds us.

Live for today, right!? Unfortunately most of us don't. We "bank" on our tomorrows, counting on them and us being there to use them. Life can be cruel as that "bank" of tomorrows can quickly be taken away.... then what? It's over, no more, nada, zilch, zip and then we're tits up in a casket, pushing up daisies.

Do we go to heaven, hell, purgatory, or the eternal gardens filled with maidens or what ever your faith tells you? I don't know. But what's wrong with happiness while you're alive?

I have a friend who was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully he beat it. He sure has a different perspective on life because his bank of tomorrows was something he thought he wouldn't be able to cash in on. Everyday spent with his family is truly a gift.

You hear the good old sayings, live for today, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade, live like there's no tomorrow and many more.

When events present themselves, you have now come to a fork in the roadway, decision time, what to do...... do I take the left fork or the right fork? We all run into these forks in our roads as life's road is not straight.

As a child, my grandmother told me one of life's secrets, it may be one that you can use when you come to these forks in our roadway of life. She told me, "Let your heart be your compass, it will never take you down the wrong road." And being middle aged, my "cup" of life is probably more empty than full.

I followed my Grandmother's saying through my life. I left a great, promising career in the military... for what? To enjoy the best job in the world and one of the greatest gifts in life. That is being a Dad and raising my son. I didn't want to watch my son grow up through pictures, the missed birthdays, Christmas', little league games, everything that Dads want to be there for.

I've never regretted my decision. I followed my heart's compass to my profession and I am thankful for having the honor of being a part of that "thin blue line".

When we arrive at that fork in the roadway, it sometimes becomes a struggle between our heart's and mind's. In our minds we can rationalize anything to stay on the only road we've known and have traveled for years. However, our hearts can be telling us the exact opposite of what our mind is rationalizing, saying "make the turn, take the other fork in the roadway." Life was meant to truly be lived happy.

So to all of you that have reached that fork in the roadway, take my Grandmother's advice for what its worth, try it, you might like the new road in life's journey.

So think about what if my bank of tomorrows were taken away. Would you be asking yourself, "I shoulda, coulda, woulda"? Only you can answer that question. Life is a journey and an adventure, live it because life was truly meant to be lived happily.

Empower yourselves!