Call of the Wild

What’s your first memory of going for it, stepping out of your comfort zone into a world larger than you could imagine?  Mine was the first time I saw and touched the ocean when I was four years old.  

I stood close to my Dad at the beach near the water’s edge seeing water-without-end for the first time.  I held on to his large index finger in my baby hand as tight as I could.  This was the biggest bathtub I had ever seen!  After a few moments the waves came in closer and closer eventually reaching all around my feet making them wet and salty from heel to toe.  I wiggled my toes in the wet sand and splashed the salt water playfully as each tired wave breathed one last time before dying on my feet.    

I stood in shallow water squinting in bright sunlight at the disappearing edge of the ocean  and wondered where it went.  Curious excitement and fear of the unknown were fighting for control inside of me.  Gradually fear began losing.  My grip on my Dad’s finger relaxed and a voice inside of me whispered, “Let go and see what’s out there.”  I freed my hand, took one step deeper into the surf, then another and another until the ocean was swirling around my knees.  I was standing all by myself knee-deep in the great unknown and it felt like hope. 

I laughed, looking back proud of my brave adventure when, all of a sudden, a jelly fish washed against my leg in a surge of sea water and stung me.  I scampered back crying for the safety of my Dad’s sturdy index finger, climbing up for more.  At the end of the day we packed up and went home.  As I lay in bed later that night the excitement and pleasure of my new discovery wrapped around me like a warm blanket as I slipped off to sleep.  This pleasant feeling would linger long after the pain and fear at the beach.  

Of course I did not know it then, but this first remembered response to my “call of the wild” would be the first of many, which would all have a sameness to them that, while different in detail, seemed to move my life in a familiar direction.  I can only describe this movement as my “path,” or my “calling,” or, simply put, what I am put together to do in this life.  All I know is that I am happiest when on this path and less so when not.

I am blessed to have four wonderful grandsons age 16 to 23 that I love very much, and who are all creative, smart, healthy and good people: Matt, Kendall, Chris, and Bryan.  They are all in different stages of discovering their calling as they step into the infinite ocean of life’s possibilities, including music, religion, sports, digital media, and management in no particular order.  My hope for them is to live their life with love and without regret as they find their path.  I watched them grow up and can’t wait to see what they do next.


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