I never grew up near the ocean. So when I first went swimming in the ocean at Long Beach off the coast of Vancouver Island in 9 foot waves with my brother Eric in the summer of 85, I LOVED it. It was amazing. Living in CA in Los Angeles later in life and going swimming and learning to surf at Zuma, Manhattan, Churches and Tressels…it only deepened my love for the ocean and for going to beach with my family.

But right now I also hate the ocean. It is playing games with my head. This week I’m reminded that the ocean is one MASSIVE barrier between me, my family and a lot of people we care deeply for and miss.

I hate the ocean today because this spring it kept me from taking a group of kids back to a city I love, New Orleans to serve along side a man, Whitney, that I respect so deeply for his service, love and compassion for a city and for Christ.

I hate the ocean today because I miss going for bike rides with my friend Pete Troskey and getting to see the La Plata peaks at the mid point ride. I hate the ocean because it means I can’t go for a mtn bike ride with my moustached friend Coye who has only learned the joy of mtn biking since I left. I hate the ocean today because my wife and I can’t eat chips and salsa with Mike and Erin and watch our kids play with theirs. I hate the ocean today because I can’t say ‘Shoooooooooot’ and ‘Tur’ with Kelly and Daniel and laugh our heads off. I hate the ocean today because I cant enjoy a cup of Durango Joes with Chad, Stephen, Al, Shaun and a bunch of other Farmington friends. I hate the ocean today because I can’t sit with a student I miss who emailed me today saying he’s having a hard time staying positive.

I hate the ocean today because I had to miss my last class at Fuller where I could make fun of Julia’s Pirate Pride, be in class with Tom, Mike, Whit, Bill, Mindy, John, and Brandon and listen to a man I respect deeply, Chap, ramble about his love for kids and Christ.

I hate the ocean today because I was vividly reminded as I said goodbye to my parents at Gatwick airport that my family and I are more than 4000 miles from the people that have meant the most to us in the last 15 years.

We know we have been clearly called to serve the Kingdom of God in England. But today the ocean reminded me that that cost is very high and the distance is very far…and no matter how convenient skype, facebook, and email is…it’s just no substitute. I’m not whining, i’m not complaining, I’m not looking for any sympathy, pats on the back, any ‘You guys are so awesome’ or any of that junk…I’m just saying, sometimes I reminded the cost of serving the Kingdom can feel incredibly hard.

To anyone mentioned in this note and others that aren’t mentioned…thank you for loving and caring for my family in the past and I hope the ocean will not keep us divided for long. In the meantime, maybe i need to go surfing in England to remember why I love the ocean too.