Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Solitary Camaraderie and Hope

I think one of my favorite moments of my recent travels to Emerald Isle, North Carolina have been the moments that I've taken on my own sitting on the deck of our rental house.  

Those stolen moments as the sun sinks down beyond the horizon and the moon begins to shine.  

In these moments when the blazing sun isn't beating down on my neck, when the beach is quiet except for the the handful of people who walk the shore at dusk. 

As the flashlights come out and the families go down to the sand, seeking the beautiful, unique shells that the tide brings in.  Almost like little gifts from the depths of the ocean.

I think these moments are beautiful because I'm just sitting.  Watching and listening to the waves crash upon the shoreline.  Those moments when you look out and all you see is blue, or black.

These are moments when I feel a sense of peace. It's not a sense of solitude or of being alone because I can look around and see a man in the house next to me with the lights of the tv hitting his face.  I look down in front of me and see a family of 6 as their flashlights flicker on and they head to the place where the water meets the sand. I can look to my left and see the fishermen wrapping up for the evening.

It's a solitary camaraderie.  A way to be alone and yet you are a part of a collective.  Together watching this scene as it unfolds before your eyes,  a wave that crashes before you and is gone. A wave that is seen only by that in that moment.  

I think the  beauty of the moment is what is so appealing.  What makes these times some of my favorite during this trip. No wave is the same. The breeze changes as the time ticks by.  As I sit watching the scene before me get darker and darker as the sun sets, drinking my glass of wine. 

And I think what I like about it is this sense of symbolism that I'm getting out of it. This whispering to sit and to watch the waves. They are turbulent, they are strong, they are large... we have had riptide warnings this week... But they are beautiful. 

It's interesting because I was standing in the water the other day with my friends.  We started by facing the waves as they rolled in.   And for a few sets of waves, I kept getting taken out.  I'm not a big swimmer, I'm not a big fan of water at all, so I have no idea what possessed me to try but I did. 

And as I stood up, brushed my hair back, spit the salt water out of my mouth, we learned how to anticipate the waves.  To prepare for them. To jump as the wave hits you.  Letting it bring you forward just a bit.  

And I'd thought "isn't this what life is like?"

 What troubles and tribulations are like? You can't always take them head on.  Daring them to take you down. Sometimes you need to prepare yourself, to get through it.  But to let it hit you.  To learn and adapt.  As the next few waves came they crashed around me and there I stood. 

I stood there knowing there were more waves building behind me. I knew there were more things to come. I could stand there and look at what was in front of me. My friends, the sand, the footprints the shells.  I knew that I was going to be okay, that I was safe.  I was solid.  (Perhaps solid isn't the best words as you're standing on sand and your toe sink in as it rushes around you.)  Yet, there I remained.

I sit tonight at dusk watching the waves crash upon the shore.  Listening to them. Watching beams of light upon the shore as those families search for the shells brought by the rising tide. 

I have to imagine, and hope and believe in these moments of beauty as now I look out and see black, with white crests dotting the beach.   You have to believe that life's like that.  There can be darkness.  

You don't know what's coming.  You  can't always see that wave coming up behind you. 

But you can prepare yourself. Be the best that you can be in that moment. To be able to get back up when those waves in life take you down.  Stand up, brush off the sand, spit out the salt water and say "what's next?  Bring it on."  

I think in these moments as I sit here by myself, it brings a sense of momentary hope.  Hope to this weary sailor who just feels alone and stranded in the middle of the ocean.  It brings me hope that the waves won't take me down.  

One of my big faith questions has always been is it god speaking to me or me speaking to myself?  Or is god putting these thoughts in my head so that I might listen?  And while I'm not quite sure about God lately.  About where we stand, where I stand, I just have this sense as I sit here and speak these words into a voice memo on my phone so I can transcribe it later... As these thoughts are popping up that its something I need to hear.

I am not alone in a vessel in the middle of the dark ocean.  That I am one in a sea of many.  That I am is solitary collective.  Who are watching the waves roll in.  Who are standing in the water letting the waves crash around me.  

Maybe occasionally taking me down...

... but not keeping me under.  

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