Smug. That’s what I was.
The water swirled and fizzed around my feet but I was completely dry. While others played ‘chicken’, running for dear life whenever a wave splashed nearby, I could paddle and kick through the surf to my heart’s content, enjoying the coolness of the water, ankle deep, through the thick rubber of my boots.
Everything was drenched in the warm ochre light of an autumn afternoon and I inhaled deep breaths of salt air. For that moment, life, everything, was as it should be.
Of course, occasionally a larger wave would come, pebbles clunking together, helplessly thrown around by the whirling waves as the sea reminded them of its power.
Just when I was beaming at my own foresight in wearing wellies, there came the most almighty smash of a wave. No way could I move quickly enough. Even my well-prepared wellies couldn’t save me now. Suddenly they seemed like a mere joke in the face of an angry sea, the waves tumbling over themselves in laughter.
So it happened. Water sloshed right over the top of those smug wellies, my socks suddenly soggy and surprised.
Sometimes life catches us unawares like water over the top of a welly boot. We think we’ve come prepared. We think we’ve planned for everything. But then something happens, like a huge wave out of nowhere. It sloshes over the top of our best laid plans, knocking everything sideways and leaving us feeling a little soggy-socked.
It can be overwhelming when it happens. Or it can just be a little embarrassing. Sometimes we can laugh at it. Sometimes, we really can’t. We may feel a little uncomfortable for a while.
It will pass.
There’s no point in blaming ourselves. These waves will come, no matter what we do. All we can do is accept, walk on, and wait for our socks to dry. Because they always do.
And the thing with those big waves is that they do eventually recede.
Then we can paddle through the shallows again, knowing we were not overwhelmed.
‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.’
Isaiah 43 (NIV)