conversation with god on a waverunner
Wednesday August 30th 2006, 5:14 pm
Filed under: faith, personal

while zipping across lake conroe at 45mph, I was asking god what I should notice.


what about it?

you’re going fast.

crap. that’s too obvious. of course i’m going fast. i like fast.

some voice in me speaks, or god’s voice – i’m not sure (at first i dismiss it as a cliché voice – the ‘it’s obvious, stupid’ voice that only knows how to parrot what every other armchair psychologist or armchair god would say): you need to slow down.

it pisses me off. it’s way too obvious. and way too simplistic.


the voice cowers a bit (which makes it easy to conclude it’s not god). you need to slow down.

me: whatever. if that’s all you have to say, i dismiss you.

act two: 22 hours later. again zipping across lake conroe at 45mph. yesterday, the water was choppy; today, the water is mostly smooth, with occasional patches of mild chop.

it dawns on me:
when i’m going fast and the water is smooth, it’s fun and easy and feels right. but when i’m going fast and the water is choppy, it beats the crap out of me. maybe the first two or three bumps have a sense of thrill or newness or adventure; but, rather quickly, it is jarring, and feels like i’m damaging myself.

hmmm. i should notice that. s’pose it’s still fairly obvious – like the ‘you need to slow down’ thing. but not quite as much. more nuanced. and rings more true and more applicable. i don’t think i’m capable (due to choice or role or wiring or a combination) of consistent slow. it’s not me. but can i choose slow at the right time? at the right times?

i ask myself (still flying across the water), ‘what skills are necessary to navigate this?’

environmental awareness, and
speed regulation.
and, more specifically, the ability to regulate speed in response to environmental awareness.

two problems with this:
1. i’m not entirely deficient at environmental awareness. but i suck at predicting it. i can see it in the midst of it, usually a tad past the half-way point, the in-deep point.
2. i plan my calendar months in advance, sometimes a year in advance, so speed regulation (most impacted by my calendar) is extremely difficult to change in the moment.

sure, i can (in theory) be more proactive about planning cycles – making sure there are slower periods in-between the mad-rush periods (that’s why i’m here on this three-day mini-sabbatical). but that isn’t so much in response to the choppiness that is less predictable.

how do i learn to read the water out in front of me? in real life, i learned this back when i was crewing on a racing sailboat. we learned to read the water for wind. maybe i’m in a bit of self-denial: maybe i already fully know how to read the water in front of me, but don’t want to admit it, because that would provide accountability i don’t want.

and a lingering question: why do i like fast? is it merely that “i’m wired that way?” or is there more to it? is it adventure or adrenaline? is it the inherent risk involved, knowing Iim living life in a way that is ‘close to the edge’? is it arrogance, wanting to prove that i can live ‘close to the edge’ while others can’t? am i trying to prove something, that i have worth, or that my worth comes from what i do, so i have to accomplish big and more? why do i like fast?

3 Comments so far
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One of my all-time fav book is by Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: the Gift of Contemplative Prayer. He has some points that connect to what it sounds like you are grappling with:

*Information itself is not the key: we grow by subtraction more than by addition. (reading the water is just another thing to get distracted with)

*The holy fool knows that he doesn’t know. This paradox/ mystery was expressed by many of the Eastern fathers: ‘If you can explain it, it’s not true’ (aren’t we all struggling to be holy fool ?)

*Your life is not about ‘you’. It’s part of a much larger stream called God. ‘Goal-orientations’ tend to push, even create the river (which is already flowing through me). (river, lake - close enough)

In terms of fast, my 2 cents: I find fast to be numbing, allowing me to gloss over stuff that is so apparent when normal pace (or god forbid, slow).

And in terms of worth, the origin of the word is bef. 900; ME worthen, OE wurthan, weorthan; c. G werden, ON vertha, Goth wairthan to become. What are you trying to become ? Is it too hard just to be ?

Comment by bob 08.30.06 @ 5:53 pm

I know what you mean marko. I’m no where near the place in my professional life that I am planning my calendar as far in advance as you have been, but I’m in the middle of relocating myself & my wife from Buffalo to Columbus, and it’s been draining as we push fast to get this relocation done. Today (the day before I get the moving truck and load it), I’m taking the evening (after my last day at my current position) to relax and recharge before the final push. I have to thank you for how much your blog means. I feel that you let us into the real life of a man pursuing God.

Comment by Andrew 08.30.06 @ 7:54 pm

Thanks. That was encouraging. I feel the feeling.

Comment by David Mackey 08.30.06 @ 9:04 pm

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