“…Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path…”

Every now and again God gifts me a lived-out experience of an abstract concept within his word. We recently had one of those times, and I am still learning from it. Mostly I have been realising afresh that following Jesus means that the step of obedience is the one just in front of me that I can see. I am learning to take one step at a time, and to have faith that the one beyond will reveal itself as I take that step. Here’s the story:

The wedding party was over but still a few of us lingered, and so the bride and groom led us smilingly into the dark summer’s night. Each of us held a small lantern, a candle glowing and flickering within, and each of us tucked a log under our arm, carrying our share of the load for the beach campfire.

As we left the street and found our way onto the rough footpath, we fell into single file as the grasses rose high on either side. Away from the streetlights and into the dark we went. The lanterns soon became the sole light to guide us by, only casting enough of a glow to illuminate our feet and the heels of the person in front. Distant voices at the front of the line called encouragement and direction, but their words were lost on the gentle wind and in the swish of the high grass. Voices from behind joked and teased, wondering if anyone knew where the beach was. Laughter and merry banter trickled up and down the path, and soon we found our rhythm. Those ahead would call out warnings to those just behind:

– watch this wee rabbit hole – there’s a big hummock of grass – mind this drop coming up – here, take my hand – this patch here is a bit slippery – take it easy here – you’ll be fine if you follow me –

And each in our turn would pass the guidance, the direction, the call for caution, to the one behind, each in our turn leading where the next would follow.

The lamplight burned low and the vast wetland before the beach stretched blackly all around. The night had reduced all to deep blues and the indefinable colours that light’s absence can create. We only knew who to follow, we only knew that the next step to take was the one we could see, right before us.

As the candles became dim we joked nervously about finding our way home once the sun rose again.

As the candles became dim we muttered, wondering when this had seemed like a good idea.

As the candles became dim we grew uncertain of our footing. Who was it leading us? Could we really trust them? Did they really know where they were going? Because we couldn’t see more than our toes, we couldn’t….

…and then I stumbled, foolish and distracted. I stumbled when I stopped looking, and the ground and my feet lost contact with each other, and I lost contact with the feet in front of me, and I lost contact with… and then I was up. Laughing again at my own foolishness, suddenly resolute, I paid attention.

Somewhere along the way grassland turned into sandy dunes of marram grass and then there it was.

The sea, there, waiting for us. Just where it had always been, suddenly obvious. Suddenly the route made sense and with relief we cheered and joked. Of course, of course we’d made it.

We lit the fire, we threw our carefully carried logs on and, with the shared joy of passing a shared test, we smiled at each other across the flames.

SamandDianeFire

V.

P.S. If you like what you see here, then you can find more reflections from a variety of voices in our home church congregation by clicking here.

#Inspiring

WaveProjectBeyondSight

This Saturday the Wave Project in Scotland teamed up with the Scottish branch of Christian Surfers for only the second Scottish screening of ‘Beyond Sight; The Derek Rabelo Story.’ This movie tells the incredible story of Derek Rabelo who was born blind in Brazil to a surfing family. This did not stop Derek from getting in the water and the film describes his remarkable journey from learning to surf in Brazil through to getting barrelled at Pipeline. The night was an incredible success with inspiration being found both on and off the (HUGE) screen. It is even rumoured our gruff Scotland coordinator was spotted with a few tears in his eyes. The night also provided a platform to present what we do at the Wave Project in Scotland to many new individuals. With the kind of support we received on Saturday the future of the project in Scotland looks very bright indeed.

Finally a massive thank you to Brian and the team at Christian Surfers Scotland, not only for putting on an incredible night, but for raising an amazing £492.29!!
J.

Beyond Sight Film Screening.

We’re so stoked to be bringing Beyond Sight to Edinburgh. The film had its Scottish premiere at the UK Pro Tour in Thurso last October and went down really well with the competitors and spectators alike. It documents the incredible story of blind Brazilian Surfer, Derek Rabelo and his desire to get barrelled at Pipeline, Hawaii. The story captured the attention of a global audience and Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Laird Hamilton, Damien Hobgood and others all play way more than cameo parts in the journey.

Beyond Sight Edinburgh

The film will appeal to a far wider audience than just surfers and absolutely everyone is welcome. We are not charging an admission fee as such, but are asking that people make a donation on the way in. All monies raised will be gifted to The Wave Project Scotland for the incredible work they do in helping excluded children and teenagers grow in confidence and self-esteem through surfing. Jamie from the Wave Project will be able to share a little about his inspirational work before the film starts.

You can get a flavour of the film here:

Please come and join us and feel free to bring anyone else who you think may enjoy the event.

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peak of the venue we’ve booked. When did you last get to see pro-surfing and a story that does more than just restore your faith in humanity on such a big screen?

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See you soon!

B.

Comes With A Smile…

Much as I love surfing, I really love the people who I meet and the stories that are traded.

Here’s one such story from someone it’s been great to get to know in recent months.

Please read it, it comes with a smile.

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Just click here.

B.

SUrf Camp 2015’s Up!

Are you of secondary school age and longing for something to look forward to at the end of term?

Parents wanting a week of peace and quiet during the summer holidays?

Want to live life to the full and have a heap of fun?

Why don’t you just switch off your television set and go outside and do something less boring instead?

How about THIS?

Places are filling up. Book fast to avoid disappointment!

If you want to get a flavour of what last year’s SUrf Camp looked like, then there’s a write up here.

Book your place here.

SUrf’s UP!

B.

 

Spring has sprung!

dolphin statue

It may sound like community service or shovelling snow in a blizzard, but, I’d rather that you thought of it as a UK-wide flash-mob of sorts – giving something back; raising the profile of an often neglected issue; acting as anthropologists of what is causing plastic tides and devastation to the marine environment and affecting our food-chain with the assistance of a new smart-phone app…

Yes, the annual Surfers Against Sewage Big Spring Beach Cleans are almost upon us. As a seasoned participant, I’ve always found these times to represent a great chance to catch up with friends, meet new people and to do something worthwhile whilst even having a bit of fun.

There are over 150 beach cleans being organised across the UK this coming weekend and 15 of them are in Scotland.

So, why not give up an hour or two, roll up your sleeves and get involved?

You can find out all the info on times and places here.

Thanks,

B.

 

Life is complicated.

“Life is complicated: sport is simple” was a slogan that once appeared in an old Howies’ catalogue. It’s true. Many of us find escape and a deep pleasure in the simplest of activities.

Last Friday I watched part of Comic Relief with my kids. Part of me wanted them to enjoy the humour whilst simultaneously protecting them from the stories of childrens’ lives devastated beyond belief. But, a bigger part of me wanted them to learn something. To count their blessings, to have gratitude in their bones and to long to try to actually DO something about the things they are exposed to.

It took me till I was researching Anita Roddick in my post-grad year at Uni to even ask the question about what must have happened in the background to enable a T-shirt to be available on my High Street or supermarket for only £5. How cheap was the labour involved to enable the price to be so seemingly competitive? Now, even my four-year old understands something of the meaning of Fair-trade. I knew nothing about the threat of melting ice caps and rising sea levels until I read “Our Common Future” in a University library in 1994 and I found myself genuinely shocked at the findings from the first ever Earth Summit held in Rio in 1992. Now, these things seem obvious. The adjective “Eco” gets tagged onto everything from homes to holidays.

I regularly find myself surprised by conversations with friends or acquaintances who seem accepting and unmoved by these things or who find the whole thing an inconvenience.

In many ways I think surfing wrecked my life. The experiences it began to offer were coupled with the fact that I became a father shortly after I started learning to surf. The latter meant that I began to see the world with a whole fourth dimension. Add to that a bunch of new ideas and books and podcasts that lead me to really examine how my faith collides with my appreciation of so much of nature’s simple beauty and I was left with a fairly combustible set of influences that reshaped the way I view the world, my place within it, the priorities and values I hold true, where I want to go and how.

Life is complicated. Sport is simple. Sometimes, I want a more simple life. Thanks to my good friend, Sam from Coast 2 Coast surf school for sharing this little clip this week. Now this is what I’m talking about…

B.

A pause for breath…

So, our house is on the market at the minute. It has rarely been less cluttered. There’s this enforced rhythm of trying it keep it as tidy as possible. We are presenting a house that we hope others can envisage their life unfolding in – a place that becomes as special for the next owner as it has been for us these past 12 years.

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There is a difference between a house and a home. Today, shortly after the viewings were completed, our back gate was opened as friends and extended family were invited in. Soups were heated and decanted, loaves sliced, cheeses unwrapped and drinks poured out. Stories of the hum-drum and the extraordinary were exchanged. Tales of waiting, experiences of uncertainty, things that have yet to play themselves out…life and love and loss…

As we drew everyone close, the kids spilt the contents of boxes of musical instruments all over the floor much like the adults had spilled out the guts of our lives in conversation. C pulled out a guitar and struck up a few songs – modern, yet, ancient. The children joined in with percussion, whistles and battery operated toys. Orchestrated it wasn’t. A joyful noise? Certainly. It was messy, but, then and again, so is life. So is community.

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At the end of a week where we have shared things for prayer over on the Christian Surfers Scotland FaceBook page, it felt right to wrap the week up reflecting upon some words from Stephen Cherry’s “Barefoot Prayers”. V read these words as some mused and others sketched.

Walking into the ocean

the cold bites toes and ankles.

Sand is ripped from footprint

in the ebb and flow of surf

even at an inch’s depth.

Pushing on, each wave becomes a body blow, a

thud on the belly

a crash on the chest.

The eighth, the biggest, pushes me

back a pace or two.

Best to lunge over or

dive under, through

water, suspended sand and murky foam.

This is what it is to face

the One who was and is and is to come.

This is what it is to face the Creator

who comes in Spirit and storm.

Yet:

if this is what it is to face,

maybe I am facing wrongly.

In surf there is no

question. The journey out allows the return;

what seemed like infinite

resistance, is now propelling power.

Let me turn my back,

not in disrespect, but in true alignment;

and speed me along the new forward,

my old backward.

B.

 

Get Involved!

As The Wave Project in Scotland builds momentum for the year ahead, I’m delighted that we’ve been able to offer a little help in finding accommodation for one of  their Edinburgh Volunteer Induction evenings.

WaveProjectVolunteer

I’ll let Jamie explain things in his own words:

“The Wave Project Scotland Team are stoked to announce our first set of volunteer induction dates for 2015. It is really important that if you would like to volunteer that you attend one of these dates. Do not worry, it’s not a heavy evening of learning but there are some key points we have to impart. If there is no way you can make any of these we will try to sort something out but please do try and make one of these if you can.

The available events at the moment are:

Wednesday 11th of March, 6pm to 7.30pm at Central Venues, Central Hall, 2 West Tollcross, Edinburgh, EH3 9BP

Thursday 12th of March, 6pm to 7.30pm at Wave Project Scotland Office, Beltonford Industrial Estate (Opposite Belhaven Bay), West Barns, Dunbar, EH42 1UW

Saturday 14th of March, 11am to 12.30pm at Wave Project Scotland Office, Beltonford Industrial Estate (Opposite Belhaven Bay), West Barns, Dunbar, EH42 1UW

It’s also a great opportunity to get all of your relevant PVG (background check) paperwork done, so please bring the following:

Some photographic ID
Your national insurance number, passport number and driving licence number
A proof of current address
Any pre-existing PVG forms
Your address history for the previous 5 years (do not need proof but just need details)
Your registration number with any regulatory body (medicine, nursing, dentistry etc.)

Following all of this you will be ready to rock and roll!!!! Please let me know which event you wish to attend so I have an idea of numbers. I have sent an email with this information, if you have not received this please drop me a note at jamie@waveproject.co.uk”

Get on board!

B.

Get On Board!

I frequently encounter people and initiatives within the surf community that make me believe in the possibility of making the world a better place. Often these are little tales of ordinary folks using the things they love in order to affect lasting and positive change.

One such couple are North Devon based Joel and Helen Blackman. I’ve got to know them through CSUK over the past few years. It’s been a delight to hang out with them and offer them food and accommodation to and from a couple of trips to Thurso and the North Shore. This week their involvement with the truly inspiring Wave Project was acknowledged by the Prime Minister.

Here’s a great little clip that appeared on local television of exactly why even David Cameron is tweeting about their awesomeness.

More locally, The Wave Project Scotland was piloted by the wonderful Jamie Marshall last year. Jamie is keen to round up more Scottish based volunteers and you can find out more by contacting him at jamie@waveproject.co.uk

WaveProject Scotland15

There’s going to be a social happening in Edinburgh on Thursday 19th February at Jake’s Place which is a pub beside Waverley Train Station (on the Market Street side). It would be great to see some of you along there from 6pm onwards. It will be the perfect chance to catch up or meet new folks and find out a little more about the Wave Project – all welcome for as long or short as you like.

I’m also trying to see if Soul Surfers can assist in providing a venue in Central Edinburgh in order to run a volunteers’ induction and training evening in the coming weeks. Watch this space for more information shortly.

B.

 

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