We went camping at the beach this past weekend. For as many things as I sometimes don’t like about Los Angeles, the ocean is never one of them.
I grew up in Texas and took beach trips to the Gulf of Mexico and I had no idea what I was missing; it wasn’t until experiencing the Pacific Ocean that I understood the powerful, overwhelming, beauty of nature that is an ocean.
On the sand I can stand and look out over the horizon and see the exact same view that has been seen, unchanged, for thousands and thousands of years.
In our fast-paced modern lives, it’s often hard to imagine the past and those who came before us as living, breathing existences. But they once were, just as I will someday once be to those who come after me. Seeing the same magnificent and mighty body of water as all who came before brings an awareness and appreciation for the history of humanity.
In my mid-20s, I spent three summers working as a counselor at a beach camp here in Los Angeles. Every day for 2 months, I’d spend the majority of my day on the beach and in the water. I learned to appreciate the patterns of the ocean and to fear and respect its power. I realize it may make me sound like a surfer (though I’ve never actually surfed), but when you spend enough time at the beach, you begin to treat the ocean as its own living force and an entity to revere.
The dance of the waves, as they pull back and then come right back at you. The cycle of the crest and fall, the snap judgements of when to jump over and when to dive under the sudden cascade of water pounded down upon you. The danger in the unknown of each wave – will the undertow be too strong? Will I lose my footing on the sand? Will the wave knock me down and tumble me over like a rag doll in a washing machine? And then when the force of the wave finally loosens its grip, will I be able to pop back up out of the water and catch my breath in time to tuck back under again before the next waves crashes down upon me?
As we played all day at the beach this weekend, from high tide to low, I thought about mine and KP’s lives and marriage and our journey through this thing called chasing a Hollywood writing dream. Perhaps it’s fitting that I started this blog during a particularly low tide time in life; KP’s had just seen several promising opportunities allllmost make it big time only to instead be washed back out into the ocean; each incoming wave deceptively pulling the water farther and farther back out on retreat. Try as we might, we just couldn’t get ahead. Our marriage suffered, our finances suffered, our dreams suffered. We held on by a thin rope. After so many hope-rejection wave cycles, we wondered if we’d ever be able to have hope again. Would there ever be a new project that inspired us to keep going? How long would we be able to keep this dream up? Should we just give up?
That’s when I started this blog. I started it because I needed something. An outlet. A way to not just be forgotten into the vast ocean of this weird Hollywood, perpetual dream chasing, kind of life.
But time, like the tide, changes. New waves come…and come…and come…and eventually, instead of each wave pulling back more than it brought in – it starts bringing in more than it took. The tide rises, slowly…slowly…slowly… but surely.
And as the tide rises, the waves become more forceful. With each wave, the undercurrent becomes stronger. Anticipation swells and optimism looms; new significance emerges. But the higher and higher and higher hope climbs, the harder and more devastating a rejection fall could be.
I sense our tide rising. To a height it’s never been before. Hope has come back and new projects have brought a new – and humbling – excitement. But I’m also afraid. Afraid of the unknown. Afraid of a heavy and hard fall. Afraid to jinx it. Afraid of the rising waves and the strengthening undercurrent. Afraid both of it happening and of it not happening. So here I stand, bracing for the next wave and the even larger one coming in after that. I see the waves coming, off in the distance, gathering speed and power. I see them rolling in. I feel it. I sense it. I know they’re coming. I know the potential they bring.
Will we withstand the trial? Will we make it through? Will be thrown down and thrashed about, helpless to the flood? Will we get a chance to come up for air before the next wave hits? Will we instead succumb to the churning torrent of water?
Or maybe, just maybe, will we survive and our high tide will have come?
Hope is awesome and beautiful and amazing…and scary.
If things don’t work out with this one, I’m worried of a hard fall.
But I’m sharing this with this blog either way.
Because either way, the waves are coming in.
And one way or another – we’ll see you on the other side.