Not this past Thursday, but the one before I found myself at a tennis "mixer", which is basically an event to allow different players to alternate partners and opponents and possibly make new tennis contacts along the way. I was here simply to meet people and network in order to play tennis while on Guam. I was by no means seeking any sort of enlightenment... I guess though it tends to work that way. It never comes when you're looking for it.
During the event, I got paired up with the "luckiest man in the world." He was certainly not a professional tennis player by any means, but this clearly was not the first time he stepped on a court. He was an average player. He could comfortably hit the ball in the court and move reasonably well. As we played through our match, any shots that he hit to win points, although very basic much of the time, he would profess his luck to me and anyone near by. As this went on, I realized that it was not simply a one time thing, it was going to be every time any success happened for our team. This Korean man, we can call him "Mr. Lucky" would say, "I'm so lucky, wow that was so lucky, so lucky, man I am lucky." Even if I hit the winning shot, I would hear," You are good, I'm lucky, but you are good, I am so lucky to have you on my team." He would say such things with a smile and such humility I could not help but smile and laugh even in just anticipating what was about to be said. It never failed; he was so consistent with his claim of luck all through out the match that he had me saying it with him. I found myself wanting him to win the point for us, just to hear his joyous luck proclamation with his laugh of disbelief. His happy and humble chant was contagious. "Mr. Lucky" had definitely made an impression on me. It was not until later that I realized the gift that I had been given. I heard but did not yet understand.
Fast forward a bit to Saturday. This boonie stomp happened to be very similar to the last one. It took place on the north eastern part of the island. We traded hiking a long distance for a lot more climbing, however. While on the trip, I found myself feeling lucky, so lucky.
As we made our way along the ocean shore, the lack of reef around this particular part of the island and the large waves allowed for natural "water rides."(Disney World, keep your lines and your safety) Although we were 20 feet above the water level, the waves were large and forceful enough to send water splashing up and over the edge of the rocky coast. I always liked "water rides" so I had to take this opportunity! I traveled slightly out from the group to where I saw the water splashing on to the rocky coast. It did not take long until a decent size wave sent enough water to leave me soaked. I had not yet been enlightened though.
From here we moved on, hiking along the coast as we had the week before. We came upon a resting point where I found a great new water spot! I watched in awe as certain waves sent water splashing up to 15 feet inland. (remember we are 20 ft above sea level) I had to try this new ride out! I gathered Akashi and Jadon( a freshman boonie stomper--we're recruiting from the dorms) and we set out to take a picture with the wave. Typically in these situations once the camera is out and ready there are of course no decent waves in order to take a good photo. However, soon after we got in position the ocean decided to be a little too cooperative. It had been saving this wave for just the right time. The right time was now. As the water splashed over us, I felt a rush of fear through my body as I unexpectedly got knocked forward. I found myself with chills trying to keep my balance and stay on my feet for fear of the jagged rocky bed that begged to catch me. After the water rushed for a moment of 2-3 seconds, I found myself about 6 feet in front of where I was standing at the start. I maintained my balance and a sigh of relief came. I started to understand a little more about being lucky.
We made our way to our final destination. After scaling a rocky cliff a lot of the way there, we finally were rewarded with a place to repel down and explore some cave space at sea level. Unfortunately though, because of the difficulty of the climb and the abundance of salt water in the air the cameras and packs did not come with us on our climb down. I did though still have with me the exictement of the experiencing the rushing water despite the close call before.
After passing through some narrow spaces, we found a larger opening that allowed us to enjoy the waves. There was a bed of large boulders (ranging from 10-20 feet in diameter) including one that was centered which gave us protection from the crashing waves. On the right of the boulder, we found a place to enjoy the rushing water. Because of the angle the water traveled and the center rock, this side was much more calm than the other. However, I found myself unable to resist. I eventually made my way to the left side with Mike, Jadon, and Akashi, providing some words of advice from a safe place above. (a mix of daring me and remarks about how it looks really rough) I finally made my way in to the danger zone and sat on a boulder gripping tightly. The ocean smelled my fear and decided to make an example out of me to the other guys. If waves could talk, this one would say, "goodbye little man!" In a split second, unable to hold on, I got pushed off the boulder I was gripping. I got washed a bit backward and had a large boulder under me with the water flowing over me and forcing me in to a jagged boulder to my right. Immediately I began to think about the sharp rocks and feared they were gashing my head. The water finally released me after a few seconds. I felt my head get hit on the rocks and asked frantically if I was cut or bleeding on the side of my head. My onlooking friends spoke to me telling me my head looked okay. I could hear a change in their breathing and the laughter that comes from nervousness during a close call. I rushed to climb out of harms way trying to avoid getting hit by other oncoming waves. For a second I think we were all a little shakey. I remained rattled for another 30 minutes after. At this point I started to understand what it is to be lucky. I decided it was time to go and we made our way back to the start of the hike.
After these events, I began to think about what I feel lucky to have in my life. It took a little uncertainty to make me certain of just how lucky I am. I am surrounded by great people. They are among my friends and family. I am so lucky to share life's waves with them.
I am sure you can think of at least one person in your life that you feel lucky or blessed to have. Sometimes we need to keep reminding ourselves of the blessings in our lives as "Mr. Lucky" did. Maybe even take some time to write them out and post them on your wall. Take time to remind the special people in your life that you are lucky to have them. If you keep reminding yourself of these things, who knows, you just might wake up one day and feel like the "luckiest person in the world."
"In the laughing times we know we are lucky. In the quiet times we know we are blessed. And we will not be alone." ~Dar Williams