Vocational Surfing: Will Someone Puhleeze Ride that Wave?

by Sam Van Eman

Transcript for this recording:

Hey, it's Friday and you're either glad the work week is over or you're bummed it's coming to an end. My friend and stump-preaching vocation specialist, Byron Borger, refuses to eat at TGI Friday’s for theological reasons. Work was given to us before the fall of humankind, not after. So for that reason, despite the callouses, work is a good thing. And, honestly, because it has service and cultivation at its roots, work brings goodness into the mess that surrounds us. Byron may be onto something.

This morning I came across a surfing video. It's amazing. I've surfed only once but even my three-foot waves made me appreciate water's power and the need I would have for excellence to both understand and work within the ways of that power. In the video scenes where you look into the empty curl, you'll wonder if a surfer will emerge. In the scenes where you watch the surfer under a closing wave, you'll wonder if he will make it.

I didn’t intend to share this in order to create a point, but I couldn't help thinking about the surfing montage and work. TGIF (not the restaurant) is the relief statement of someone who can't seem to emerge. They either lack the vision, or the know-how, or the willingness to ride out what seems like pending doom. And sometimes it is pending doom. Plenty of jobs will eventually reach right over our heads and take us under. But every time?

I would like to see more of us ride this thing beyond Friday.


Enjoy the video below. If you don’t think about work while you watch it, that’s okay. The wave is still amazing.


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Sheila January 14, 2012 at 2:44 PM  

Interesting commentary, Sam! Thank you.

I'm always thankful for Friday, for another week completed, for a change in routine, for more time with my family, for domesticity, to write, for sabbath.

But I'm thankful for Monday, too, when I return to my work.

Let's open a restaurant: TGIM.

Sam Van Eman January 14, 2012 at 5:22 PM  

Without the rhythm in all those items you mentioned, we'd be in a real mess.

Sheila January 14, 2012 at 6:05 PM  

Rhythm. Yes.

We need it, don't we?

Amy Hunt January 18, 2012 at 1:43 PM  

Sam, I am struggling at work in a big way, but with whether to survey the cliff and make a jump for something different that I think would be working to my strengths more of the time. It's hard to be in this place. I ache at having my intuition affirmed and thinking *I should have known*, BUT...I choose courage to trust that I am here for purpose. Where I am now has meaning--I've grown and been a light and it's just where He's allowed me to be.

I am thankful for Friday to have more family time--and candidly only since raising an infant is no longer my days!--but also for the respite that the weekend's provide with regard to being away from work (though it's not rest in these child rearing years, still!).

I get what you're saying, totally. And I don't think I'm a big user of the phrase TGIF. I often think that tomorrow could be a bear and just to be grateful for what we have.

your perspective was wonderful. And that video--it's amazing! Truly amazing! I actually teared up watching it and I only got half way through so far. It touches an emotion in a raw way.


Laura January 18, 2012 at 4:46 PM  

That video absolutely makes my anxiety level go through the roof. Shouldn't that guy be ON TOP of that wave? Instead of underneath, getting ready to be clobbered?

Point is, sometimes--at work--I'm on top of that wave, sometimes I get clobbered. Often, I think about the Kingdom value of my job--hopefully, no one will need a psychologist when Kingdom comes. This, I think, is the conundrum. So, part of me feels this longing to be free of that work...Right now, however, I try to see it as Kingdom work.

Interesting thoughts, Sam.

Sam Van Eman January 19, 2012 at 3:35 PM  

Amy, thanks for the honest reply. Jobs can be lousy all around, or nagging just enough to feel like something's stuck in your shoe. It isn't the worst pain but you'd like to stop walking.

It sounds like you're making the most of the situation. And, yes, I hope God will continue providing ways for you to be light.

Sam Van Eman January 19, 2012 at 3:38 PM  

Laura, the girls kept asking, "Did he die?"

Interesting thought about psychology. Whether it sticks around or not, I'm glad you're doing it now. Folks are in good hands with you.

Kim February 29, 2012 at 5:11 PM  

I agree Sam - recently I have been pondering how to live my life more from a place of rest rather than work, work, work and then rest - work, work, work and then rest. TGIFridays and other cultural staples can lead us into this work, work, work mentality. Thanks for your post!

Sam Van Eman March 1, 2012 at 9:19 AM  

Kim, thanks for stopping by. This pattern is tough to break, so let me know if you find any good solutions!

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