Until this year, I had an unspoken belief that everything would work out OK. Not that our lives have not had their share of tough times and struggles; but we usually managed to pull through. 2010 taught us that things don't always work out OK. Bad things do happen. Knowing this has affected my confidence I think.
I introduced myself to our new neighbours yesterday, as you do when you are living within metres. I had noticed, but dismissed the fact that they didn't 'set up' their site after arriving. After pleasantries I discovered why. A & J explained that the van and car were not theirs, they belonged to A's parents. They borrowed them after they had written theirs off on Boxing Day on the way here. Down a sweeping bend, the van had started to sway and within seconds was sweeping backwards and forwards, eventually skidding them sideways down the thankfully empty road and slamming them into a tree. Miraculously, despite the wrecked car and van they emerged with only a few scratches. Their kids were not with them. This was not a typical 'how are ya?' greeting.
A & J are still shaken, and are doing very little, and everything is in slow motion for them. They are simply thankful to be alive. A tells me they had been towing the van for years, same car, and van packed the same way, he is at a loss to know what happened. I admire their courage to get 'back on the horse', and enable themselves to enjoy the simple pleasures. 'We're here, with a coffee and a magazine, we're all good,' A says to me today.
And I hope I never have to control a swaying van ... I am a conservative driver, especially when towing, but I feel some nervousness having heard A & J's tale.
I'm still a beginner when it comes to surfing, but I can usually get a ride when the conditions are OK. Today I took out Rachel's new board, first time I'd been on something shorter than 7'. I was shattered that I found it so hard to get a ride. Granted the conditions were rubbish, waves barrelling and closing out, but my confidence took a beating. I'm determined to get a few decent rides on that thing over the next week or so.
So today is New Year's Eve. Tomorrow is a new day. What will 2011 bring? Will confidence return? Have we lost our deep frivolity and naive enjoyment of life for good? Pain and grief certainly change things. Profoundly.
Perhaps, just maybe, experiencing deep pain will give us fresh appreciation of goodness & beauty. Perhaps, just maybe, brokenness and a lack of confidence are gateways to more full living. 2011, here we come.