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Pascale Honore loves watching her sons tackle the Australian surf. A woman not easily intimidated, she would join her boys in the waves were it not for a 1995 car accident that left her paraplegic. Bound to a wheelchair, surfing was not an option—until one of her sons' friends had an idea.
Tyron Swan, 23, is a strong and skillful surfer. "I could duct tape you to my back and surf," he said to Pascale, 50. Pascale didn't see why he couldn't, and, armed with several rolls of tape, they set out to test their plan.
Pascale "can't find the words to explain" what it's like to move through the ocean, to feel like she's "part of the water" after years of immobility. For his part, Tyron notes that surfing with an extra 88 pounds taped to his body is "a pretty good challenge." But his nonchalance can't mask the significance of his gift. "It's changed her life in a way," he admits.
Pascale and Tyron's adventures have been chronicled in a short documentary, Duct Tape Surfing. It's the sort of clip you think would take the Internet by storm, and that's exactly what it has done. How could anyone not be moved by Pascale's courage and Tyron's tangible friendship?
If my fellow Christians are anything like me, I suspect they can't watch the footage without seeing a powerful metaphor for spiritual friendship. Is there any more vivid embodiment of "bear one another's burdens" (Gal. 6:2, ESV) than a sturdy Tyron rising up on his surfboard with a grinning Pascale on his back? Is there any richer example of the way trust can make possible things once thought impossible? When we use words like evangelism and discipleship, are we not daring to dream that we who have already experienced the waves of God's mercy might somehow lead a friend or two into the water?
I must resist the urge to reduce Pascale to a sermon illustration. But there is a detail in her ...