“Not too far!”
I never heeded my mother’s warnings when she stood where the sand met the sea in Malibu and called out to where I had waded—usually up to my waist or sometimes higher, much to her terror. She could sense the danger better than my 10-year-old brain could comprehend and knew that the waves building up on the surface of the ocean could sweep me up and carry me into the depths of the Pacific. I was defenseless, but at that age I couldn’t distinguish between fun and fear and held my breath as a “big one” came and hurled me headfirst into a whirlpool of sea foam and shoreline debris. Did my confidence set me up for potential harm? Yes. Did I do it anyway? Absolutely.
Have you ever pondered the power of the sea? At once destructive and restorative, shapeless yet sure, it serves as a constant reminder of a great, big unknown that puzzles even the most sophisticated minds. But Seaver College student Cayla Moore doesn’t consider the water a mysterious force of nature. The champion surfer knows and understands it very well. Cayla’s ocean isn’t threatening or tempestuous and it doesn’t thrash. It’s as steady as land, allowing her to glide across its stillness and stand confidently against its inherent rage.
In our cover story we learn that surfing is a daily prayer that allows Cayla to reflect on the wonder of God’s creation, especially as the day breaks on the tranquil waters in the repose of dawn. This June she navigated the crests and troughs of the waves at Dana Point and came in first in the women’s collegiate category at the National Scholastic Surfing Association championships—a victory that established Pepperdine as a contender in the surfing arena.
In the pages of this issue, we meet others who have confronted seemingly untameable forces with great conviction and emerged with a renewed sense of identity and purpose, whether they were ensuring the welfare of the most vulnerable members of society in children’s court, attempting to heal the scars of sexual assault with the strokes of a paintbrush, or living in the aftermath of a deadly shooting spree that changed the course of a little boy’s life forever.
Two decades later, I’m still drawn to the call of the sea, but today I’m a little more cautious and a little more sensitive to the potential dangers that caused my mother to fret so many years ago. I’ll stand at the mouth of the ocean and let the water dance around my ankles, sometimes higher. I’ll welcome the gentle mist that reminds me of what lurks just beyond that invisible line between comfort and catastrophe. And perhaps someday I’ll venture just a little bit farther and dive more confidently into the unknown knowing that the simple act of moving can produce the most beautiful outcomes.