March 2013 – Part 2: Startruck St. Patrick’s Day Dinner & A Perfect Brightness of Hope

To first read March Part 1:  My Interview with Boomer Esiason (NFL Quarterback), click here.

Patrick’s ancestors are from Ireland, so every year we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish feast!  Last St. Patrick’s Day, we were honored with a surprise guest to share in corned beef hash, potatoes and cabbage – the one and only professional surfer and pioneer/discoverer of Mavericks, Jeff Clark.  Jeff was surfing Mavericks 15 years before anyone else in the world new it existed!  

Jeff Clark surfing Mavericks in 2009. Photo: Doug Acton

Jeff showed up at our church on St. Patrick’s Day Sunday and Patrick instantly knew who he was…well, it was his second guess, after first asking me if I thought it was the gardener for the neighboring park.  Patrick was awestruck.  To put his wonderment in perspective, Patrick doesn’t watch any sports – just surfing.  If you ask him what he thought of the game, he won’t even know what sport you are talking about!

It turns out Jeff shapes and glasses his boards in San Diego (for his surf shop in San Francisco), so he comes down to Carlsbad every so often.  After chatting off and on throughout the church meetings, Patrick asked Jeff if he wanted to come over for dinner.  Patrick was “stoked” when Jeff readily agreed.  Jeff was such a humble, down-to-earth, nice guy.  He was soft spoken and reserved until he talked about surfing, then he completely lit up with animated passion for the sport.    I smiled as Patrick and his surfer enthusiast friends hung on Jeff’s every word of story after story of big waves, big holddowns and big sharks.  It was a night they will never forget!

Jeff Clark
Ben, Jeff, Patrick and Dave


Kiwi was also exhausted by all the excitement.

Kiwi---tiredAlso in March, when I arrived home from New York, I learned I had officially entered Stage 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD) and could now begin testing to be listed for a kidney transplant.  I was excited to begin the next steps to feeling better!  Testing would include blood work, EKG, CT scan, stress test, gynecological tests (to make sure there is no cancer before your immune system is wiped out), kidney ultrasound, etc.

Now that I was officially in “renal failure,” I began doing all sorts of research on Stage 5 kidney symptoms to see what was in store.  Symptoms that I was already experiencing included periodic nausea, muscle cramps, tingling in hands and feet, restless legs, changes in skin color, difficulty sleeping, swelling (especially of the feet, legs and face, specifically, around the eyes), high blood pressure, making little urine and fatigue due to anemia.  It is amazing how well we can feel – both physically and more important, mentally, when we don’t know we are “sick.”  Still, as I recognized these symptoms as a result of CKD and not other medications I was taking, my hopeful anticipation of how much better I could feel and all that I would be able to do again after my kidney transplant made me giddy!

Lastly in March, I had the honor of speaking at a church Relief Society meeting with the theme, “A Perfect Brightness of Hope” with the following scripture as the theme:

“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.” 2 Nephi 31:20

When I was told the theme, I though “perfect!”  Any other topic I might be more intimidated at having to speak for 50 minutes as the keynote speaker, but not hope.

I love hope.  I live by hope.  I am made happy in hope, grateful in hope, peaceful in hope.

The friend who was asked me to speak specifically wanted me to use examples from my own life as shared in my book, so I knew it was going to be an emotional presentation, but with such an inspirational theme, I was up for the challenge.  It is a heartfelt, emotional presentation which I hope you enjoy.  “A Perfect Brightness of Hope”  – get the tissues ready.

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