I hazily awaken with the afternoon rays of sunlight bearing down on my bronzed skin and sweet droplets of summer sweat rolling slowly down my body. Under the noise cancellation of my AirPods, with Beyoncé crooning her sultry melodies, I faintly hear the mixture of laughter, fear and trepidation swirled like Mister Softees soft serve vanilla/chocolate summer favorite cones melting together. It's only then that I take notice of the masterpiece in front of me...the majesty of the vast, grand, resplendent image before me that takes so many shapes, so many forms, means so many things and has so many parallels to this thing we call life...
As my eyes pierce deeper into the contours of the movement before me, I notice the expanse and great influence that belongs to the water. In a moment, it can swallow the most powerful of vessels, overtake the struggle to stay afloat and any trace of breath and/or life can dissipate in a matter of seconds. Conversely, it has the capability to wash away filth, refresh and revive, bring merriment and jubilation and sustain the very life that it can so swiftly take away. Life and death, vitality and cessation, rise and downfall, liveliness and obliteration all belong to the same entity.
And then it came to me - as life presents itself in all of its demands and provocations, celebrations and commemorations, how do we fare riding the waves? When it's summer and we can wade in the comfort of the shoreline without the threat of danger or uncertainty, our head above water, the air in our lungs plentiful and non-threatening, are we secure or one might argue "protected"? When our feet struggle to find the bottom, and we feel the presence of the water like a cold heavy blanket dragging us down to the earth where our head is submerged and we can no longer even gasp for breath, are we sunken and devoured of all remnants of life or do we battle to hold on?
Life, like death, comes to us all - these are the two very certainties you will contend with during your tenure here on this planet. What isn't assured and potentially more important, is what your answer is to everything that happens betwixt the two.
I have had the good fortune of more struggle than affluence, more loss than favor, more submersion than freedom of breath, and for this, I give a multitude of thanks. You see for some, the struggle may have created defeat, but for me it unveiled triumph; loss may have surmised ruin, but for me it generated pillars of strength and every encounter that pursued to inundate me, instead catapulted me to a destination even higher than my understanding could foresee.
So my friends, as we continue on this exploration of the unrecognizable in our future, don't just keep your head above water, frolic brilliantly in the realization that life is sustainable and even to be embraced in the shallows and depths, the blues and greens, when overwhelmed and overpowered, on the pinnacles and the crests - for you are being formed and shaped intentionally through your exposure as to who you are fashioned to be.