Surprised to be Alive


I have had a hurt ankle for about a month and a half now, and at times it can drive me a little crazy. Being hurt and not able to skate can often feel like a prison. Skateboarding is a big part of who I am and how I express myself, without it I don’t feel like I can truly be me. Being a skateboarder for 16 years, I’ve had to deal with the challenge of being hurt quite a few times. Throughout the years I have usually responded to injury with shock and amazement, as if some strange injustice has happened to me. I’ve come to realize though that the real surprise and amazement is when I can walk away from any skate park or skate spot without some kind of injury. First of all, skateboarding is a pretty injury prone activity, and secondly, it is not something that I am entitled too. Just like everything else in this world, skateboarding had a starting point, it didn’t always exist. Everyday that we are rewarded the luxury of being able to ride a skateboard is a huge surprise and a blessing. Our perspective shouldn’t be, “what a surprise and shock,” when we can’t skate, but when we can.

I heard someone say the other day, “don’t be surprised that people die, be surprised that people are still living.” When you think about all the chaos, disease, and things that can go dramatically wrong in life, it is a shock that anyone makes it very long. People die at 30 and people are surprised that they died so young, but the real surprise is that they lived so long. Just like skateboarding, life is dangerous, lots of things can go wrong, and everyday we live that nothing does is a surprise, not the opposite. Everyday that we can live, laugh, and learn is a blessing and should amaze us that we can do it at all. Nobody is entitled to life, for it didn’t always exist and it doesn’t have to exist.

I hear old people say a lot, “When you get to be my age, just waking up is a surprise.” If we all adopted that mentality life would be a lot sweeter. When we realize that we are not entitled to anything, everyday becomes like Christmas morning. Psalm 16:2 says, “I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord, I have no good apart from you.” Everything we have is intentionally crafted and presented to us by a loving heavenly father. Everyday that we can live, and everyday that we can skate is a gift, it is not owed to us. So next time you find yourself not able to skate or in some kind of hardship, don’t be surprised that life is a little hard at the moment, be thankful for all the days that were good, for we are not owed or entitled to any of it. Everything in our world and our life hangs by a thread and can come crumbling down at any moment. If it all hangs by a thread, it shouldn’t be a surprise when something crumbles. The real surprise is all the days that it didn’t.

Reflection Questions:

Many people get mad at God for all the suffering in the world and say, “how could God let this happen?” If we shifted our focus to gratitude for all the times when there is not suffering, when everything in the world says there should be more of it, how would that change our attitude and perception of suffering?

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